WASHOUGAL — This does not happen every year.
This doesn’t happen every decade.
Heck, this had never happened before … before now.
This would be a Washougal victory over Mark Morris in boys basketball.
“Coach asked us before the game, ‘Do you believe?’ We all said yes, and we signed our names to the white board,” senior point guard Michael McElroy said. “This was for the whole town and all the alumni.”
McElroy scored 10 of his team-high 15 points in the second half, Sean Guthrie made four 3-pointers, and the Panthers pulled away from the Monarchs for a 66-58 win Thursday night in an early test in the Class 2A Greater St. Helens League.
Athletic director Doug Cox, who has been at Washougal for more than 30 years including several seasons as the basketball coach, confirmed that this was a first of its kind. The Longview Daily News reported it was a 40-game losing streak for the Panthers against the Monarchs.
McElroy’s three-point play with 2:57 left in the game gave the Panthers (10-4, 2-0) the lead for good at 52-50 — the ninth lead change of the second half.
After a Mark Morris (8-4, 2-1) free throw, Nathan Adams scored from the inside. That was followed by a 3-pointer from Austin Tran with 1:38 to go in the game, giving Washougal a six-point advantage.
“It was amazing,” said Tran, who had 10 points. “That’s when I knew we had to play even harder to seal the deal and get the win.
“This just shows how good our team is and how good our team can be.”
Washougal was clutch in those closing seconds, making 8 of 10 free throws as the Monarchs tried to extend the game. Mark Morris had cut the deficit to three points two times but never had the ball with a chance to tie. Washougal’s Jaden Jantzer made all four of his freebies in the final 26 seconds.
“I felt good about it coming in,” Washougal coach Malcom Estes said. “We’ve come close the last few years. Tonight, it was our night to get it done.”
The Monarchs opened the game with an 8-2 spurt. It was the only run, if you want to call it that, for the Monarchs all night.
“We didn’t get upset. We relaxed and kept playing,” Estes said.
Oh, and the coach put in Sean Guthrie whose range appears to be anywhere in the building. Guthrie made three 3-pointers in the first half and had 11 points as the Panthers trailed by a point at the break.
“Every time I come off the bench, I just want to shoot,” said Guthrie, who added another 3-ball in the third quarter to finish with 14 points. “That’s my role, to shoot 3’s. I knew we had never beaten them. I just wanted to dow what I could to help the team win. I was feeling it.”
In all, the Panthers made 8 of 14 from 3-point range.
The third quarter saw six lead changes.
Yorro Bah opened the final period with a 3-pointer for Washougal for a 45-43 lead — Bah’s only score of the game. Patrick Jones also got his lone field goal of the game, off an assist from McElroy in the fourth quarter.
“Everybody who got in the game tonight did a great job for us,” Estes said.
McElroy had five assists to go with his points. Aaron Deister had a game-high 10 rebounds for Washougal.
Grant Gibb led Mark Morris with 15 points. The Monarchs had nine turnovers — a low number — but four came in the fourth quarter. Mark Morris also shot 33 percent from the floor.
“It started on the defensive end,” McElroy said. “When we’re playing defense, it flows to our offense. When we’re playing both, we’re hard to stop.”
Thursday night, the Washougal Panthers were hard to stop, against a team that never had any trouble stopping them before now.
WASHOUGAL 66, MARK MORRIS 58
MARK MORRIS — Grant Gibb 15, Tanner Brill 9, Von Johnson 4, Hayden Tapani 9, Ryan Littlefield 9, Seth Huhta 9, Keigan Baker 0, Nate Teeters 3, Hayden Tilton 0. Totals 19-57 (6-20) 14-20 58.
WASHOUGAL — Mike McElroy 15, Sean Guthrie 14, Austin Tran 10, Nate Adams 6, Yoro Bah 3, Patrick Jones 2, Jaden Jantzer 8, Aaron Deister 8. Totals 23-48 (8-14) 12-16 66.
Mark Morris 16 14 13 15–58
Washougal 12 17 13 24–66