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Columbia River boys basketball already liking new league

Chieftains open first 2A GSHL season with win over Ridgefield

By , Columbian High School Sports Reporter
Published:

It all seems so new to the Columbia River Chieftains.

Well, except for the winning part. That’s old-hand for the Chieftains.

The Columbia River boys basketball team picked up a win Monday night in its first game in the Class 2A Greater St. Helens League.

Jacob Hjort scored 20 points, Spencer Long added 19, and the Chieftains pulled away from Ridgefield down the stretch for a 53-37 victory at Columbia River High School.

“We’ve got to learn as we go,” Hjort said of River’s new surroundings.

For years a 3A GSHL team, the Chieftains moved to 2A beginning this school year.

“The biggest difference is scouting and learning the tendencies of new teams,” Hjort said. “You’ve got to be smart and a quick learner. We’re moving at a pretty quick pace.”

The Chieftains knew Ridgefield was a tough defensive squad, and that’s what they faced for much of the night.

Hjort made three second-half 3-pointers to help turn a six-point game into a double-digit lead.

Hjort finished 8 for 13 from the floor.

“I’m just trying to take good shots, not shoot myself out of it,” Hjort said. “Make sure I shoot shots that are in my toolbox.”

Ridgefield got it back to within eight points with 4:45 to play in the fourth quarter.

The Spudders were led by Louden Wardius, who had 11 points and six rebounds.

But the Spudders were demoralized when Long swished a 3-pointer just as the shot clock buzzed with three minutes to play.

Ridgefield never recovered.

Long was 7 of 14 from the floor.

Hjort called it a good start to the league season.

“We’re a pretty solid team. We’re pretty confident,” he said. “We know our strengths, we know our weaknesses.”

Nobody associated with the program expects to just come in to the new league and run away with anything.

“The new league is exciting,” River coach David Long said. “There are good basketball teams at every level. We are going to see good basketball.

“New gyms. A new playoff format. We’re kind of just along for the ride and see what happens.”

David Long did say he is thrilled to be out of Class 3A. Should the Chieftains be fortunate to make a postseason run, they will be out of what he calls the toughest class in the Northwest.

“I’d rather be 6A in Oregon or 4A in Washington than 3A in Washington,” he said. “I’m glad we’re 2A.”

Another oddity for Columbia River, the coach said, was playing a league game so early. But this win counts as much as a league win in January.

“All in all, I’m happy with the way we had to grind out an unattractive win,” David Long said. “I didn’t relax at all until the last minute.”

COLUMBIA RIVER 53, RIDGEFIELD 37

RIDGEFIELD — Tim Radosevich 8, Travis Gottsch 4, Andrew Williams 3, Cameron Short 3, Jack Vance 0, Louden Wardius 11, Spencer Andersen 8, Sam Frosh 0, Wyatt Layman 0. Totals 15 (3) 4-7 37.

COLUMBIA RIVER — Kaden Dezort 0, Conner Wells 2, Jacob Hjort 20, Evan Dirksen 5, Nathan Hockhalter 5, Nasseen Gutierrez 0, Spencer Long 19, Jack Armstrong 2, Spencer Black 0. Totals 19 (5) 10-14 53.

Ridgefield 4 9 14 10–37

Col.River 10 11 16 16–53

Columbian High School Sports Reporter

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