Nate Snook might be the reigning co-2A Greater St. Helens League MVP, but more is being asked on his shoulders for Columbia River’s boys basketball team.
“I feel like I have to score more,” Snook said, “and still facilitate.”
He’s done it all season, including Friday’s 56-43 victory over Washougal at Columbia River’s J. Hoover Gymnasium. The senior point guard poured in a game-high 19 points and added seven assists in the win to wrap up the first half of league play.
Lofty expectations are a given every season for River (9-2 overall, 6-0 league), and this year is no exception. Through six league games, River’s allowed an average of 39.8 points per game.
Defense shined again Friday, holding Washougal to a season low in points in a battle of the 2A GSHL’s top-teams.
Defense is the most important thing,” senior forward Dylan Valdez said, “and tonight, we did a “good job of executing.”
Upstart Washougal (8-4, 4-1) is one of the surprise 2A GSHL teams thus far, already equalling their league win total from last season. Friday, it featured a full-court press and 2-3 extended zone, yet River found its groove from the outside. A 25-21 halftime lead by River quickly blossomed to 41-24 inside a minute left in the third quarter behind a Josh Kukula 3-pointer for his only points. While River hit four 3-pointers that quarter to build on its lead, the defense held Washougal to five points that quarter.
Michael Foust (14 points) made it a 52-32 lead inside 3 minutes to play in the game. He and Valdez (12 points) joined Snook as the Chieftains to score in double figures. Valdez is one player who’s found his role as a first-year varsity player — and a starter.
He credits off-season work plus finding his stride on his AAU team to help build confidence in his final season of high school basketball.
“I’m glad I can fit well on this team,” Valdez said.
In fact, six different Chieftains — including Valdez — have led the team in scoring through 11 games, which shows they’re not a one-trick pony in the scoring column.
“It’s good that every guy out there can help out,” he said. “We’re all pretty good shooters and confident in our shooting abilities, driving and passing. I feel like we work well together when things are flowing.”
Washougal freshman Yanni Fassilis scored nine of his 11 points in the first half to lead the Panthers.
COLUMBIA RIVER 56,
WASHOUGAL — Jakob Davis 9, Judson Mansfield 0, Julien Jones 6, Brevan Bea 8, Gabe Kent 5, Brig Griffin 0, Yanni Fassilis 11, Aaron Ackman 5. Totals 15 (6) 8-15 43.
COLUMBIA RIVER — Nate Snook 19, Alex Miller 1, Daniel Hjort 0, Juelz Mendoza 2, Josh Kukula 3, Homero Anguiano 0, Marc Miranda 5, Michael Foust 14, Dylan Valdez 12. Totals 20 (8) 8-13 56.
Washougal 11 10 5 17—43
Col. River 12 13 16 15—56
JV — River won, 53-43
C — River won, 51-40