ILWACO — In a matchup between two of the top teams in the Pacific League, Ilwaco turned a halftime tie into a 66-40 rout of Northwest Christian Tuesday, Jan. 15.

The defenses controlled the first half, which ended tied at 23, but Parker Kaech broke through after halftime, helping the Fishermen outscore the Navigators 25-13 in the third quarter.

It was the third loss of the season for the Navigators, who were 13-3 at week’s end, including 11-3 in the Pacific League. Ilwaco at week’s end was 11-5, 10-4 in league play, putting them in fourth place.

Kaech turned a grinding defensive struggle into a run-and-gun, open court game, scoring seven straight points over a span of about two minutes to turn a 27-25 lead into a 34-25 advantage. He leapt over his defender for a put-back to start the personal scoring run, then hit a free throw after getting fouled on the break after an Alex Kaino steal. Kaech then went coast-to-coast off a Gator miss.

Tenyson Ramsey ripped away another steal and found Kaech on the break for the nine-point lead. Later in the quarter, when John Glenn stole a bad pass, it was Kaech again sprinting ahead of the defense for the 45-31 lead less than six minutes into the quarter.

Kaino also had a big third-quarter with eight points, mixing in a spinning post move with his usual perimeter-based offensive repertoire. In addition, Kaino handed out five of his six assists in the second half.

“During the second quarter we got up a bit, and then we let some gimme (shots) go,” Kaino said. “It was basically a new game at halftime, and we wanted to come out and make a statement.”

“We brought defensive intensity” to the third quarter, Kaech said. That defense turned into fast breaks. “We took it right to them. We’d get the rebound and make passes…We got the shot we wanted.”

With the Gators’ defense wearing down under Kaino’s and Kaech’s attacks, Joe Nisbett came on in the fourth quarter and helped close out the win by overpowering his defenders near the basket. He established dominant position inside, on his way to three of three shooting in the fourth quarter.

Kaino finished with 23 points and six assists, John Glenn had 11 points and six assists, and Nisbett scored 10. Kaech led Ilwaco with seven rebounds to go with his nine points.

Aaron Mead is a sports writer for the Chinook Observer. Contact him at 360-642-8181 or aaroncmead@gmail.com.

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