ILWACO — Robert Woods scored 23 points and snared seven offensive rebounds, leading Ilwaco to a 42-39 win over Willapa Valley on Saturday, Dec. 10. Woods scored 17 of Ilwaco’s 22 first-half points.

The game was scoreless through nearly four minutes, and Valley led 6-5 after one quarter. Woods scored all Ilwaco’s points with a put-back and a three-pointer. In the second quarter, Ilwaco got the ball inside to Woods, who dominated near the basket. Valley relied on three-pointers from Matt Pearson and step-back jumpers from Walker Oblad to stay close. Ilwaco led 22-18 at the half.

After Valley went ahead 25-24, Zac Tapio went coast-to-coast, drew the foul and hit both free throws to regain Ilwaco’s lead. The lead continued changing hands throughout the second half. With Valley ahead 34-33, Alex Kaino intercepted a pass and saved the loose ball off a Valley player with 5:19 left. On Ilwaco’s next possession, Kaino and Tapio drew the defense their way with screens and passes before Tapio fired across court to an open Ethan Bannister, whose three-pointer put Ilwaco ahead for good 36-34.

Tapio then came up with a steal, was fouled, and hit both free throws for a four-point cushion. A steal by Woods led to a trip to the line for Kaino, who also made both free throws. Woods danced around his defender on the baseline and banked it in for an eight-point lead with 3:12 to go. The Fishermen held on to win by three.

PUYALLUP — Ilwaco scored 26 fourth quarter points to beat Chief Leschi 59-56 on Tuesday, Dec. 6. Alex Kaino scored nine points in the final period, during which Ilwaco turned a four-point deficit into a 59-53 lead. In the final minutes, the Warriors hit a three-pointer to cut the lead in half but had another three-point attempt rattle out at the buzzer.

Kaino hit two three-pointers in the first quarter and scored 17 in the game. Robert Woods added 16 points and got another tough defensive assignment, containing star guard Yaholah Gower to 10 points. “He was quick,” said Woods, “the quickest guard I’ve guarded this year.” Donnelle Irving led the Warriors with 18 points, and Chris Whitford added 14.

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