ILWACO — Reese Tynkila scored 21 points as Ilwaco capped an exceptional opening week with a 60-50 victory over four-time Pacific League champion Life Christian. With the win over the Eagles and Tuesday’s dismantling of Chief Leschi, Ilwaco started the season looking like a juggernaut.
League MVP Omari Maulana was out for Life Christian, but Ilwaco still had a tough task against the team that knocked it out of the playoffs last year. The Life Christian program is known for rebounding and defense; they outrebounded Ilwaco 28-20 Saturday, prevented easy baskets and denied Ilwaco its usual three-point looks.
However, Reese Tynkila proved he has a decisive edge in quickness versus this year’s Life Christian big men. And while Ilwaco avoided mistakes, Life Christian made them, committing 21 turnovers to Ilwaco’s 12. In a physical game, Life Christian also gave away some points with fouls far from the basket, and more on two technicals for procedural violations. The Fishermen had a 35-16 lead in free throw attempts, including 10 late-game attempts with Life Christian intentionally fouling.
Most importantly, Ilwaco played excellent defense of its own. Tenyson Ramsey, guarding star Noah Robinson, intercepted a pass and scored to put Ilwaco ahead for the first time. Parker Kaech did the same moments later for a 13-9 advantage. Ramsey got to more passes for Robinson and was generally disruptive. He zipped into the high post for a quick double-team to force a travel as Ilwaco clung to a 20-19 edge. John Glenn’s pressure near half-court drew a five-seconds call to create another turnover. Jeb Sheldon, fighting around a screen, drew an offensive foul near the end of the half.
Kaech led Ilwaco with seven first-half points while guarding Life Christian’s talented freshman Dai-Shaun Nichols. The Fishermen led 24-22 at halftime.
Tynkila took over the third quarter. He got by Téjhan Potts-Woods on the baseline, scored, got fouled, and completed the three-point play to regain the lead. He attacked two defenders, drew another foul and hit both free throws to get the lead back again. Ilwaco then had a four-point possession, as Kaech got fouled while scoring and Joe Nisbett put back Kaech’s free throw miss. Tynkila scored on the break to extend the lead to seven. At the end of the quarter, Tynkila drove by Robinson on the baseline, put up a shot over the help defender and got it to roll in at the buzzer for a 41-33 Ilwaco lead.
Life Christian went on a 7-0 run with some suffocating defense and Robinson break-aways. Tynkila caught a pass in the lane, drew a foul and hit two free throws to end that run and extend Ilwaco’s lead to 51-44 with 3:52 left.
The rest of the way, Ilwaco milked the clock, while Life Christian rushed its offense. Ramsey snatched a rebound out of a defender’s hands with 1:34 left, extending what had already been a 30-second possession. Tynkila capitalized, cutting to the basket and scoring to make it 53-44.
Nichols went on the attack, hitting two free throws with 1:15 left and going coast-to-coast to cut it to 56-50 with 21.6. But John Glenn clinched the game with two free throws with 18.8 remaining.
Tynkila shot eight of 14 from the field and six of 10 from the line. Alex Kaino lived at the free throw line, where he hit 12 of 16 attempts. That included shooting the free throws on two Eagle technicals, one for having a player listed with the wrong uniform number and one for a player wearing a uniform that did not comply with WIAA rules. Kaino finished with 14 points. Kaech had 12 points and four steals. Ramsey added another four steals. Robinson led Life Christian with 17, and Woods added 11.