Tuesday, August 9, 2022
Aug. 9, 2022

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La Center boys endure, eliminate Stevenson 70-50

Wildcats will play for berth to state on Friday

By , Columbian High School Sports Reporter
Published:

To be honest, the La Center boys basketball team did not want to be in this game Wednesday night.

The Wildcats felt they could have been playing in the championship game of the Class 1A District 4 tournament, not an elimination game in the consolation bracket.

They were tired. They were upset.

And then they turned all of that into a positive.

Avery Seter made five 3-pointers, Jake Wise dominated the inside, and La Center survived to play another day with a 70-50 victory over Stevenson at King’s Way Christian High School.

La Center (14-4) will take on Forks in the third-place game — for the district’s final berth to the state regionals — on Friday in Chehalis.

Two days ago, the Wildcats were down but not out after suffering a grueling, triple-overtime defeat to Hoquiam in the district semifinals.

“Everyone had to do our part … to keep us alive,” Wise said. “But we know if we go out and do what we know how to do, we’re going to come out on top.”

Seter said it was just a matter of focusing at practice on Tuesday and forgetting about that Monday loss.

Sounds easier than done, though, La Center coach Jeremy Ecklund said.

“Triple-overtime on a Monday night, two hours from home, these guys were gassed,” Ecklund said. “We came into this one not knowing how we were going to play. And I thought we had great energy, positive energy.”

La Center got into this Stevenson game as soon as practice started on Tuesday.

“Shake it off and let’s play,” Ecklund said of his team’s philosophy.

The Wildcats raced out to a 13-point lead in the first quarter against Stevenson.

The Bulldogs, also playing for their season, did not go away quietly. Stevenson had a strong second quarter to make it a six-point game, then Austin Brannon hit a 3-pointer to open the second half to make it 30-27.

The rest of the quarter belonged to Seter and La Center.

“I don’t remember,” Seter said. “I just play my game and did what coach asked.”

His coach must have asked Seter to dominate.

Seter scored 13 of his game-high 25 points, outscoring the Bulldogs by himself in that quarter. He had three 3-pointers in the period, including a shot with five seconds left on the clock that gave La Center a 16-point lead.

“It feels good when your shots are falling,” Seter said. “Your confidence goes up and you want to keep shooting more.”

Wise had 13 of his 21 points in the second half. He also grabbed 14 rebounds. Hunter Ecklund had 10 points and five assists for the Wildcats.

The lead grew to 22 early in the fourth. Stevenson would score eight in a row, but La Center was never threatened in the final eight minutes.

“We executed really great in the third and fourth quarters,” Wise said. “We ran the stall pretty well, and we finished at the end of the stall.”

Brannon scored 17 to lead Stevenson (12-9) in its final game of the season. Ryan Fielding added nine points.

LA CENTER 70, STEVENSON 50

STEVENSON — Theo Lanz 0, Ryan Fielding 9, Luke Nichols 0, Lincoln Krog 4, Austin Brannan 17, Isaac Hoidal 5, Alex Delarosa 8, Brigham Campbell 2, Clayton Hansen 5, Austin Pearson 0. Totals 20 (2) 8-13 50.

LA CENTER — Shaydon Amstutz 0, Colby Shaw 3, Jon Eastman 3, Jake Wise 21, Joe Bork 0, Avery Seter 25, Jackson Leslie 0, Matt Baher 8, Hunter Ecklund 10, Mason Weaver 0. Totals 28 (8) 6-14 70.

Stevenson 5 19 12 14–50

La Center 18 12 22 18–70

Columbian High School Sports Reporter

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