A 16-0 Hoquiam run during the middle of the game was too much for La Center to overcome in the first round of the Class 1A District 4 tournament.
The loss drops the Wildcats (14-8) into a loser-out game at noon on Saturday against Montesano. That game will be played at W.F. West High School in Chehalis.
La Center got off to a good start on Thursday. The Wildcats led 18-10 at the end of the first quarter, and were in front 27-24 at halftime. But La Center got into some foul trouble during the second quarter, which helped the Grizzlies (18-3) seize momentum.
The Grizzlies’ decisive 16-point run bridged the second and third quarters.
Hoquiam outscored La Center 22-11 in the third quarter. The Wildcats pulled within three points early in the fourth quarter, but did not have a chance to get even late.
Matt Braaten led La Center with 15 points and Wyatt Aguirre scored 14. Connor Wonderly made seven steals for the Wildcats, and Jeremiah Arn grabbed a team-leading seven rebounds.
Ronnie Espedal scored 19 points for Hoquiam.
HOQUIAM 53, LA CENTER 48
LA CENTER (14-8) — Wyatt Aguirre 14, Dylan King 3, Connor Wonderly 3, Matt Braaten 15, Jamison Benitez 0, Jonathan Griffee 0, Jeremiah Arn 5, Zach Brown 0, AJ Myers 2, Levi Van Tol 6. Totals 18 (4) 8-16 48.
HOQUIAM (18-3) — Ronnie Espedal 19, Sandstrom 10, Warton 2, Newton 4, D. Kelly 0, B. Kelly 7, Smith 9, Bolden 2. Totals 18 (3) 14-20 53.
La Center 18 9 11 10–48
Hoquiam 10 14 22 7–53