Colville boys eliminate Freeman at Chelan
In a game more reminiscent of a backyard brawl or a rough around the edges Australian Rules Football scrum on roller derby skates, Colville High’s boys led wire to wire to register a 54-47 Bi-District winner-to-regionals/loser-out win Saturday afternoon over Freeman at Chelan Community Gymnasium.
The win for Colville (15-11) was the first this season in four tries over Northeast A League and District 7 1A champion Freeman (15-9).
The win, scant hours after the Indians absorbed their worst loss of the season in a 65-32 beat down to top-ranked Cashmere, thrust Colville into the round of 16 (regional).
CHS will oppose third-ranked Naches Valley (21-2) Friday night at West Valley High School (Yakima). Game time is 8 p.m. in the winner-to-state, loser-out match-up.
Naches Valley downed second-ranked Zillah (20-3) last Saturday night in the SCAC District title game, 58-53.
First ‘state’ trip in over a decade
Colville will be making what amounts to its first state bid since the late 90s.
Nothing has come easily for a Colville team with unmatched size up front, but some offensive liabilities that have made for an interesting season.
Colville head coach John Foulkes credited his team with resilience and toughness on Saturday in the fistfight against physical Freeman.
“We didn’t play well at all against a Cashmere team that was pretty much playing on all cylinders,” Foulkes said. “But we were able to put that behind us and focus on Freeman.”
The Indians have played Freeman tough at times, but have never been able to put together four quarters of solid basketball against the Scotties. They did on Saturday at Chelan in the loser-out, winner-to-regional (or state) game.
Fast start propels Colville against FHS
“We played them exactly like we played them at district (in Spokane),” Foulkes said. “We zoned them and we did a better job on their shooters. They really didn’t know what hit them in that first quarter and we just built on that early confidence.”
Colville got off fast, leading 8-0 early before settling for a 10-2 first quarter lead. Freeman had trouble solving Colville’s active zone. The Scotties were 0-9 from the field in the opening quarter.
Freeman cut the Colville lead to 10-7 in the second quarter, but the Indians always seemed to have an answer, particularly inside, where (6-5) Alex Pond, (6-6) J.R. Henry and (6-9) Matt Hubbard were effective.
Pond, an All-State linebacker who was in his element in this one, led Colville with 16 points, 13 rebounds and only one turnover.
The big senior was also one of Colville’s few bright spots at the free throw line (six of seven).
Henry, although he struggled from the field, brought his high- energy show throughout the Bi-District Tournament against the Caribou-Trail League. The senior had 11 points, 11 rebounds, two blocked shots and four assists against Freeman.
Hubbard added 11 points, 16 rebounds, five blocked shots and four assists. The team’s leading free throw shooter going into the game (75 percent), the sophomore was one of 10 at the line.
Those numbers tended to mirror a game that Freeman never would have been in had the Indians made a respectable number of free throws. CHS had no trouble getting to the line in this Hackfest, establishing a school record 50 free throw attempts (24 of 50).
Colville shot an unheard of 32 free throws in the fourth quarter alone when Freeman’s ploy was to put the mostly poor-shooting Indians at the line and hope for the best.
CHS was an unsightly 13 of 32 at the free throw line in a fourth quarter that saw three Freeman players foul out.
Freeman was 14 of 20 at the free throw line for the game.
Freeman committed 32 fouls to Colville’s 17.
Colville was a frigid 14 of 48 from the field. Freeman was even worse at 13 of 63. The Indians were one of eight from three-point distance. The Scotties were six of 18 (three of those in the fourth quarter).
Colville held a 53-51 rebound edge and committed 18 turnovers. Freeman had 13.
Another bright spot for Colville came from junior guard Jay Shoemaker. After starting the game by missing three of his firest four free throw attempts, Shoemaker finished 8 of 12 at the stripe and helped to hold off a late Freeman run. Shoemaker added eight points and three steals.
Shoemaker hit seven of his last eight at the line.
“He was the key guy,” Foulkes said of Shoemaker.
It wasn’t pretty, but the Indians are still playing. They are one of 16 Class 1A boy’s teams that can say that.
“No, it hasn’t been necessarily pretty,” Foulkes said. “But I am very proud of the kids. We had a real will to win (against Freeman) and we are playing hard. It’s not easy to get this far.”
Foulkes said the Indians focused on “taking it to the rim hard…Alex and J.R. went to the rim from the get-go. That helped set the tone.”
After that bad loss one night earlier in the same gym, Foulkes said he had no particular reason to believe that his kids were particularly confident against a Freeman team that had beaten the Indians three times in as many tries this season.
Channeling Norman Dale in his pre-game remarks
“I really had no reason to think that we were particularly confident going in,” Foulkes conceded, adding that he decided to use his best Norman Dale (Gene Hackman in the movie Hoosiers) impersonation for his pre-game chat.
Somebody had to.
“I guess I laid out a little fire and brimstone,” Foulkes quipped. “We just talked about some key things in the game that we could control…let’s put some heart into it. And we were able to do that.
“It certainly wasn’t our best statistical game, but I can say that it was the first game all season where all 10 kids who played all contributed…it was our best team effort of the year.
“I wasn’t sure we had it in us…we got some great senior leadership and showed some toughness against a team that’s difficult to play. We had nothing to lose and they did. We were able to put some pressure on them (with a fast start).”
Foulkes promised that his team would be shooting a lot of free throws this week in preparation for Naches Valley.
Colville led 17-14 at halftime and extended that lead to 29-16 at the 3:21 mark of the third quarter on a pair of free throws by Tevyn Holling.
But with Colville’s problems at the free throw line, Freeman was able to hang around and make it a little more interesting than it needed to be.
Colville helped itself by getting into the double bonus in the third quarter.
Colville extended its lead to 32-17 on a Hubbard bucket inside at the 1:41 mark and led 36-25 at the quarter break.
CHS extended their lead to 38-28 with another Hubbard basket inside. Pond hit both free throws of the double bonus to extend the lead to 40-30 at the 6:34 mark. Pond fed Hubbard on a high-low moments later for a 42-32 Colville lead.
But Freeman wasn’t through. A three-pointer cut the Scotties’ deficit to 42-35.
CHS continued to struggle at the line, but when the Indians got the ball into the half court, Freeman had trouble stopping Pond, Henry and Hubbard.
Cody Unfred, who led FHS with 16 points, buried a three-pointer to cut Colville’s lead to 51-45 with 1:29 left. A free throw cut it to 51-47 inside the game’s final minute of play. But Shoemaker hit a pair of free throws to stop the bleeding and push the lead to 53-46 with 37 seconds left.
Colville was home free in a classic Hackfest that featured two teams that don’t care all that much for each other.
Colville faced a loser-out Bi-District game back on Feb. 15 at Moses Lake High School against Cascade (8-14).
The Indians played just well enough to eliminate Cascade, 54-45.
In the other loser-out game back on Feb. 15 at Moses Lake, Okanogan eliminated Newport, 71-56.
Okanogan post Joe Townsend led the Bulldogs with 26 points and 10 rebounds.
Jake Wiley, a 6-7 senior headed to Montana on a basketball scholarship, led Newport with a game-high 28 points.
Hubbard goes for double/double against Cascade
Colville was led Hubbard’s 25 points, 20 rebounds and six blocked shots. He also had four assists and a pair of steals.
Henry added 17 points and 13 rebounds.
“His energy and effort has been great in all three games (of Bi-District),” Foulkes said of Henry.
Pond, hampered by a high ankle sprain, still scored nine points and pulled down 11 rebounds.
Shoemaker and backcourt running mate Taylor Murto had four assists apiece. Shoemaker also had a pair of blocks and three steals.
“We shot ourselves in the foot a few times,” Foulkes said. “We didn’t play great, but our height advantage was a factor.
“There were times when we didn’t play very intelligently and threw the ball away by committee. Everybody had a turn in that madness.”
But Colville played well enough when they had to.
Colville held a big 56-33 edge on the boards (16 offensive rebounds).
The Indians turned the ball over 21 times to 15 for Cascade.
CHS hit 33 percent from the field and 14 of 22 at the free throw line. The Indians were only two of 11 from three-point distance.
Cascade hit 29 percent from the field (17 of 59 and were five of 19 from long distance.
This one got out of control early against a Cashmere team that struggled one day later to beat fellow CTL rival Okanogan, but was certainly playing on all cylinders against Colville.
Cashmere opened up a 10-point lead late in the first quarter and that working margin would balloon in a hurry. Playing in front of a big home crowd at Chelan Community Gymnasium, Cashmere stretched that early lead to as many as 28 points in the second half.
Cashmere hit six three-pointers and did pretty much what it wanted to do on offense. They got points in transition and inside.
The 1A powerhouse also was very effective packing it in against the Indians’ size. In a win two nights earlier against Cascade, Colville’s big three of Hubbard, Pond and Henry had combined for 51 points. They combined for just 19 against Cashmere.
“I think people will remember this game for a long time,” figured Cashmere coach Keith Boyd. “It was just a great performance.”
Colville had little trouble forgetting about the forgettable and concentrating on Northeast A League rival Freeman.
“We learned a lot from that Cashmere game,” Foulkes said. “Those guys can all shoot. We made a lot of fundamental mistakes, but they played very well…hitting pull up three’s, bankers on the break. And their defensive philosophy to lay-off (on the perimeter) and pack it inside worked well for them.
“Give them credit. They shot it well and we were horrible.”
Cashmere hit 49 percent from the field. Colville hit a season-low 17 percent (10 of 58). The Indians were just three of 21 from the three-point line.
In Naches Valley, the Indians will oppose a team that likes to run its offense and play under control.
The Rangers are led by senior point guard Derek Huck. The 6-0 Huck scored 10 of his team’s 14 fourth quarter points in their district title win over Zillah, mostly on mid-range jumpers and drives.
Three times in the fourth quarter against Zillah, Huck scored go-ahead buckets. He was also five of six at the free throw line in the game’s final 2:17.
Zillah didn’t help itself in this one, shooting some Colville like numbers at the line (missing 6 of 10 in the game’s final five-minutes).
Huck was eight of 15 from the field.
The other loser-out, winner-to-the-final-eight contest will pit second-ranked Zillah against No. 8 King’s at 6 p.m. (West Valley).
Naches Valley isn’t a one trick pony. The Rangers of the lower valley feature a rugged trio inside—6-5 Jeremy Gaudette and Cameron Walker, and 6-3 Thane Pierson.
“Again, we really don’t have anything to lose,” Foulkes said of Friday night’s game with Naches Valley in what amounts to a road game in front of another hostile crowd. “They are a great opponent. We’ll come up with a game plan and try to execute it…hopefully, we can advance to the round of eight.
“We’ll have to play well, play hard and control tempo.”
At Moses Lake:
Colville 54, Cascade 45
Okanogan 71, Newport 56
Cashmere 65, Colville 32
Okanogan 59, Freeman 47
Cashmere 48, Okanogan 46 (No. 1&2 to regionals)
Colville 54, Freeman 47 (No. 3 to regional)