Boys basketball: Fort keeps season alive with win over Kelso

Trappers survive loser-out game in 3A district tournament

By Paul Valencia, Columbian high school sports reporter

Published:

 

They wanted at least a couple more games. For themselves. For their coach.

The Fort Vancouver Trappers wanted to earn some more games together.

They did it Wednesday night in an elimination game in the Class 3A District 4 boys basketball tournament.

Five Trappers scored in double figures in a 71-64 victory over Kelso.

Fort will face Prairie at 8 p.m. Thursday at Hudson's Bay High School in the tournament semifinals. Kelso's season came to an end.

"I knew the whole season we could play like this," said senior Tre Eisenhut, who led the Trappers with 20 points. "Coach said this is the most important time to play our best basketball. That's what we're doing."

Fort coach Scott Thompson has already announced this will be his last season with the team. Had Fort failed on Wednesday, that would have been it for Thompson. Instead, Fort is assured of a trip to next week's bi-district tournament with an chance to make it to regionals.

"It's a great moment, that's for sure," Thompson said. "The thing that makes it even better is doing it with this group. It means so much to have one of those nights they can remember for the rest of their lives. We talked about rising to the occasion, and they did."

The Trappers shot better than 50 percent from the floor (23 of 42) and also made 10 of 12 free throws in 80-second stretch of the fourth when Kelso turned the game into a free-throw parade.

Fort needed those free throws, too, because Kelso caught fire in that final quarter. Seth Gillihan scored nine of his 20 points in the period for the Hilanders. He made five 3-pointers in the game.

Gillihan's traditional three-point play cut the deficit to four points with 27 seconds left. Eisenhut, though, would clinch the victory from the line.

Malachi King added 20 points for the Trappers. Jordan Suell scored 12. William Doty had a double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds. Noah Harris ended up with 11 points.

Kelso scored the first basket of the game, then missed its next 12 shots, struggling against the Fort defense. The Trappers reeled off 15 in a row in that stretch.

"This was our loser-out game," Eisenhut said. "For some of us, it could have been the last game of our high school careers. We just wanted to beat this team."

The Trappers did just that, extending this special season.

FORT VANCOUVER 71, KELSO 64

FORT VANCOUVER — Jacob Brugman 2, Will Doty 10, Tre Eisenhut 20, Noah Harris 11, Jacob Howard 0, Malachi King 13, Jordan Suell 12, Marquis Taylor 0, Jorge Regalado 3. Totals 23-42 (8-13) 17-28 71.

KELSO — Blake Hampton 16, Justin Bowlby 6, Xavier Parker-Mendez 2, Nate Solomon 0, Quinton McDaniel 10, Seth Gillihan 20, Zach Cummings 10, Zak Schueller 0. Totals 23-48 (9-21) 9-10 64.

Ft. Vanc. 15 16 22 18­—71

Kelso 4 17 19 24—64