CHEHALIS - Goliath won. But only after Evergreen champ Winlock was the recipient of 40 free throws to Ilwaco's 15 and after the Fishermen's two leading scorers were banished to the bench with five fouls and the Fishermen were further hamstrung when Coach Paul Jarrett and all-league Matt Kaino were ejected from a district tournament game won by the Cardinals 61-49 in Chehalis Saturday.
Jarrett said, "Winlock killed us on the boards. Almost all of their points in the first half were from offensive rebounds and you have to give them credit. We worked on blocking out all week in practice, but when their starters average six-foot, five it's tough to do." The Cardinals out-rebounded Ilwaco 50-27.
Ilwaco battled to within 24-21 at intermission, despite going one for nine from three-point land in the first half. Winlock had worked to a 24-15 edge on the glass and both teams had turned the basketball over only four times before intermission. The Fishermen emerged in a 2-3 zone defense in the third frame to protect Ryan Blake and Kaino, who had each picked up two fouls each and to curtail the Cardinal's drive-and-dish offensive scheme.
A minute into the third stanza Tyler Hertz and Jordan Davis each hit 3-point field goals to up the ante to 30-21 in favor of the Cards. Jarrett immediately went back to a man-to-man defense; however Winlock amassed a 16-point advantage by quarter's end at 40-24.
At the 3:17 mark of the third period Jarrett was assessed a technical foul for saying, "You have to call that" when three Cardinals clobbered Kaino on an attempted field goal from the high post that instead turned into a turnover. Karl Oman kicked off the eventful fourth frame with two field goals, an assist to Blake in the paint and with 3:50 remaining in the contest he found Jack Whealdon with an assist for a three-pointer to help the Fishermen reel in the Cardinals 47-38.
The play of the game, and possibly of the season for Ilwaco came 15 seconds later. Kaino and Winlock's six-foot, eight center became entangled during a scramble for a rebound. Kaino was elbowed in the chest and as he recoiled, he pushed back at the offending appendage. The Winlock center delivered a second elbow, but the same official who had assessed Jarrett his "T" called Kaino from behind the play for a phantom personal foul and then gave a theatrical ejection call on Kaino with no explanation given the Fishermen bench.
On the ensuing trip down the court Jarrett saw another Winlock post player allegedly offer an elbow in the direction of Whealdon. The coach told the officials, "You can't let that go," and was given a second technical foul and by rule removed from the game, as well. In the span of 32 seconds the Cardinals shot ten charity shots and what had been a nine-point lead ballooned to a 52-38 advantage, thanks to some poor Winlock foul shooting as they only converted on five of the 10 freebies. Assistant Kip Meinhardt took over the coaching reigns down the stretch.
Although Oman sank a 25-foot "three" and a layin and Kolby Kirby and Jordan DeSimone both scored in the final two minutes, the Fishermen were unable to get any closer than 13 points. "Some games you never notice the officials," Jarrett surmised. "Tonight was not one of them." Ilwaco's leading scorer for the season, Ryan Blake fouled out at the 3:56 mark of the final frame on what could have easily been called a charge and Kaino was also banished to the bench with 3:03 to go.
The Fishermen were out-rebounded 50-27 and despite the dismaying drama created by the officiating, that was the key to Winlock's victory. The Cardinals were 16-40 from the field for 40 percent and made 19 of their whopping 40 foul shots for 47 percent. They turned the basketball over 13 times and Ilwaco lost the sphere on an amazingly low total of six occasions in the physical fray. The Fishermen connected on nine of their 15 attempts from the line for 60 percent and made one more field goal than the winners, despite shooting a sub-par 32 percent on 17 of 53 tries. Fouls were 26 for Ilwaco and 13 for Winlock.
Ilwaco Athletic Director Nate Plummer immediately following the contest affirmed that he would file an appeal over Kaino's ejection with the WIAA as both Kaino and Jarrett will not be able to participate in Ilwaco's next District IV game if the ruling stands. A video tape of the game clearly revealed the facts of the play are worthy of review. "The WIAA seldom uses game video to overturn penalizing players for ejections," Plummer stated. "But I will definitely bring this to their attention. We have until Thursday for them to reach a decision."
The Fishermen will face Kalama in a loser-out contest on Thursday in Centralia at 6:30 p.m. A victory will pit them against the winner of the Toledo and Rainier game on Saturday in Kelso, also at 6:30 p.m. Ilwaco needs to win both games to advance to the state tournament and a loss in either contest will end their season. The Fishermen are now 12-10 and Winlock is 20-2.