Hockinson boys earn trip to 2A Sweet 16

Hawks thrive in playoff atmosphere against Washougal

By Paul Valencia, Columbian High School Sports Reporter



In front of the biggest crowd they had played before, in the biggest game of the season, Alan Haagen and Jack Klodt played even bigger Tuesday night for the Hockinson Hawks.

Their reward is a trip to the regionals. The Hawks are among the final 16 Class 2A boys basketball teams in the state.

Haagen scored 23 points, Klodt added 16, and the Hawks owned overtime, beating 2A Greater St. Helens League rival Washougal 67-53 at Evergreen High School for the final berth from the District 4 tournament.

Hockinson will face Sequim at 4 p.m. Saturday at Kent-Meridian High School. The winner will earn a berth in the 2A quarterfinals at the Yakima Valley SunDome.

Washougal scored the first two points of the overtime period, but Hockinson responded with a 16-0 run to end the Panthers’ season.

“We knew what they were going to do, and they knew what we were going to do,” Haagen said of the Panthers. “It was, pretty much, execution.”

Haagen hit a 3-pointer to put Hockinson up 54-53, then Klodt scored the next five points to give the Hawks control. Hockinson would score the last eight points of the game from the free-throw line as Washougal misfired the last three-and-a-half minutes and was forced to foul.

The two teams split their regular season meetings, with Hockinson’s win coming in overtime, another double-digit victory.

“Same thing happened tonight,” Klodt said. “When the game went into overtime, we said, ‘Here it is again. We’re going to do it again.’ “

Hockinson held a nine-point lead at the half, but Washougal opened the third quarter with a 12-0 run.

“I knew it was going to be a battle the whole time,” Klodt said. “We were fighting the whole time, not letting our teammates down.”

The Hawks did not panic during that tough stretch.

“We didn’t let it get to us,” Haagen said. “We did the same things we did to get the lead in the first place.”

“Every time I thought Washougal had the momentum and was going to run away with it, one of our guys stepped up,” Hockinson coach Matt Gruhler said.

Taylor Rennaker hit back-to-back 3-pointers to end the third period, giving the Hawks a 39-37 lead. Hockinson made 11 3-point shots in the game.

Washougal came out hot again in the fourth quarter, going up 46-41 on a Sean Guthrie 3-pointer and a basket from Jaden Jantzer.

Then it was Hockinson’s turn. Haagen converted a three-point play with 5:01 in the game, setting the tone for the rest of regulation: A close battle that was never more than a three-point difference.

Klodt’s three-point play at the 1:59 mark gave Hockinson a 49-48 lead. After Washougal tied it, Haagen scored for a two-point lead with 1:34 to play.

It stood that way until Washougal’s Michael McElroy sank two free throws with 11 seconds left to tie.

“We had a great season,” Washougal coach Malcolm Estes said. “We didn’t get as far as we would have liked to, but that was a great high school basketball game.”

This is the second year in a row Washougal’s season ended one game away from regionals.

“They weren’t satisfied with just getting here,” Estes said. “They’re going to need a few days to realize this was a great team.”

Aaron Deister led Washougal with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Nathan Adams added nine points, and Jantzer had eight points, including two 3-pointers in the third quarter.

Both fan bases appreciated the effort on the floor.

“It was the best game I’ve ever been a part of,” Gruhler said. “The crowd, it was a packed house. It was just a lot of fun to be a part of, to watch.”

Klodt said he had never played in front of so many people. The balcony bleachers were needed at Evergreen, and many fans missed the opening minutes of the game as the line for tickets stretched well into the parking lot.

“I loved the environment,” Haagen said.

One could say the Hawks thrived in it, especially those final four minutes.


HOCKINSON (14-10) — Jack Klodt 16, Alan Haagen 23, Wyatt Yearout 11, Nathan Gunderson 1, Taylor Ellensohn 5, Tommy Beckley 0, Taylor Rennaker 11, Jess Krahn 0, Sam Georgioff 0. Totals 18-41 (11-26) 20-30 67.

WASHOUGAL (16-8) — Michael McElroy 6, Austin Tran 7, Nathan Adams 9, Jaden Janzter 8, Aaron Deister 16, Sean Guthrie 7, Regan Townsend 0, Yorro Bah 0, Patrick Jones 0. Totals 21-56 (4-16) 7-17 53.

Hockinson 18 11 10 12 16–67

Washougal 14 8 15 14 2–53