The Kelso Hilanders talked a big game while they were playing a big game Friday night at Fort Vancouver High School.
Nick Moore had 18 points and 11 rebounds in a 67-62 win.
Not only did the Hilanders earn a Class 3A Greater St. Helens League boys basketball victory, they also earned some respect from the Trappers.
“Kelso’s always a tough, physical team,” Fort Vancouver guard Jameel Morton said. “They’re going to give you a run for your money every day. They’re going to play disciplined all the time because they’re so well-coached.”
There were some tense moments, too. But post-game, it was all good.
“They talked a little in the game, but that’s basketball,” Morton said. “Every team’s gonna talk.”
Plus, well, Kelso earned that right, too. After six ties in the early going, the Hilanders took the lead for good in the second quarter. The Trappers always remained within striking distance, but the Hilanders never lost control.
Moore led three Kelso players in double-figure scoring. He ruled the paint, with his boards and his ability to get the Trappers into foul trouble.
Kelso would end up with 40 free throw attempts — that physical style that Morton described helped lead the Hilanders to the stripe.
Shaw Anderson scored 15 points, and Emmitt Kinch scored 14, including a 3-pointer to open the fourth quarter that squashed Fort’s momentum.
“It’s huge for us,” Kinch said. “They were one game behind us and now they’re two. Plus, it’s always hard to win here.”
A 10-0 run early in the third quarter gave Kelso (12-2, 4-0 GSHL) a 14-point lead before the Trappers responded. James Husband Jr. scored seven in a row for Fort Vancouver (9-4, 3-2), and it was a six-point game at the end of the period.
Husband led the Trappers with 20 points. Morton added 15 and Miracle Alford-Lewis had 11.
Kinch was true on the 3-ball to open the fourth, and Fort only got to within four points in the final minute of the game.
“We didn’t execute down the stretch,” Fort Vancouver coach James Ensley said. “We’ve got to finish better against good basketball teams.”
Still, the Trappers know they are close.
“We learned we could play with one of the two best teams in the league,” Ensley said.
“We gotta get better, but we fought hard tonight,” Morton added.
KELSO 67, FORT VANCOUVER 62
KELSO — Emmitt Kinch 9, Riley Noah 9, Peyton Noah 7, Reece Tack 0, Anders Gamble 2, Christian Huntington 2, Shaw Anderson 15, Nick Moore 18. Totals 19 (2) 27-40 67.
FORT VANCOUVER — Dakota Jones 0, James Husband Jr 20, Johnny Green 7, Miracle Alford-Lewis 11, Jameel Morton 15, Kyron Lowe-Ash 7, Elijah Autry 0, Zeke Block 0, Ahmere Green 2. Totals 21 (5) 15-26 62.
Kelso 16 18 10 23–67
Fort Vanc. 14 13 11 24–62