LACEY — A third-quarter push gave Hockinson life.
Mark Morris’ response made champions of the Monarchs.
Mark Morris scored nine points in a row midway through the fourth quarter, pulling away for a 62-50 win Friday in the Class 2A District 4 championship game at Saint Martin’s University.
Hockinson (18-5) heads into the state round-of-16 as the No. 2 seed from the district. They will play on March 1 with the opponent and location to be determined.
Hayden Tapani scored 12 of his game-high 17 points in the second half, as Mark Morris (18-5) broke a string of four consecutive losses in the district title game.
The Monarchs won this one because they found quality shots when they were most needed — and converted most of them. They got a jump on things by scoring nine points from offensive rebounds in the first half.
Hockinson never led, but after trailing by 11 late in the first half pulled within one less than three minutes into the third quarter. That sprint was fueled by defense that made eight steals in the third quarter.
“Our boys did a phenomenal job on the defensive end causing those turnovers,” Hockinson coach Trevor Person said. “We executed a lot of what we talked about. We fell short of execution though after we got the steals.”
That included missing six free throws in the third quarter. The Hawks finished 13 for 21 from the line, but might have managed a lead with a few more makes in the third quarter.
Mark Morris, Person said, played like a team that had championship game experience. Grant Gibb hit two important 3-pointers and scored eight of his 14 points in the third quarter to quiet Hockinson’s surge. Eventually, the Monarchs were able to use their size advantage to separate from the Hawks.
“It got a little shaky there in the third quarter,” Mark Morris coach Bill Bakamus said. “We had way too many turnovers and there was a time we started to lose our composure. But we made the plays at the end when we needed to.”
Taylor Ellensohn, Jack Klodt and Alan Haagen each converted layups that pulled the Hawks within three points in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter.
“I remember looking at the score when it was 46-43, I was thinking it was right here for us to get. But we just couldn’t quite stretch (the run) far enough to get the lead,” Klodt said. “Down the stretch, they hit the open shots when they got them.”
Klodt and Haagen each scored 12 points for Hockinson, which got points from eight players but struggled to find a rhythm shooting from the perimeter.
The Monarchs didn’t give the Hawks a fourth-quarter possession to get closer than three points. Perhaps the biggest Mark Morris basket was a Tapani 3-pointer with 5:02 on the clock. That basket was followed by three Mark Morris layups that essentially sealed the game.
Mark Morris and Hockinson split their two Greater St. Helens League battles. Like those, Friday’s was a physical contest.
“Give credit to Mark Morris for their physicality,” Person said. “Right when I thought we were going to start getting momentum, we wouldn’t hit a shot or finish a layup.”
MARK MORRIS 62, HOCKINSON 50
MARK MORRIS – Wes Malcom 2, Hayden Tapani 17, Cameron Mosier 12, Mitch Malcom 0, Evan Troy 2, Grant Gibb 14, Keigan Baker 2, Jared Rofler, Jared Bartleson 11, Geordi Morrow 2. Totals: 24 (6) 8-18 62.
HOCKINSON – Taylor Rennaker 9, Nate Gunderson 2, Jack Klodt 12, Alan Haagen 12, Jess Krahn 5, Taylor Ellensohn 5, Austin Steimle 2, Littleton Davidson 3. Totals: 17 (3) 13-21 50.
Mark Morris 14 12 15 20–62
Hockinson 9 12 16 13–50