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Braydon Olson scores 43 to points to rally Mark Morris boys past Columbia River for league title

Down nine after the first quarter, Monarchs pull away for 75-63 win

By Tim Martinez, Columbian Assistant Sports Editor
Published: February 3, 2024, 11:07pm
3 Photos
Braydon Olson (11) of Mark Morris celebrates a 3-pointer against Columbia River during a 2A Greater St. Helens League boys basketball game at Mark Morris High School in Longview on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2024.
Braydon Olson (11) of Mark Morris celebrates a 3-pointer against Columbia River during a 2A Greater St. Helens League boys basketball game at Mark Morris High School in Longview on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2024. (Tim Martinez/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

LONGVIEW — The Columbia River boys basketball team was the only 2A Greater St. Helens League team to beat Mark Morris this season.

And for a quarter, it looked like the Rapids had a good chance to do it again.

Then Braydon Olson took over.

The senior guard scored all 13 points in a pivotal 13-0 run in the second quarter and finished 43 points, leading the Monarchs to another league title with 75-63 win over River on Saturday night.

“It means a lot,” Olson said of the league title. “We worked towards this at the beginning of the year. I don’t think anybody thought we would be here. We put in work every day. We trust the process. We trust our ourselves. We trust our coaches. And we’re here.”

12 Photos
Braydon Olson of Mark Morris celebrates a 3-pointer against Columbia River during a 2A Greater St. Helens League boys basketball game at Mark Morris High School in Longview on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2024.
Columbia River Mark Morris boys basketball Photo Gallery

Where the Monarchs were after the first quarter was in a nine-point hole after Miles Fitzwilson and Adam Reeder hit 3-pointers for River to end the quarter with a 22-13 lead.

Junior Dalton Stevens said the Monarchs (16-5) never got away from their game plan despite the early deficit.

“We were just sticking to what we do,” Stevens said. “Even if shots aren’t falling, if we stick to what we’re doing, we know it will work itself out. We knew what had worked. We put time into it. We trusted it, and it worked out.”

It also helped that Olson got working in the second quarter.

Trailing 26-17, Olson scored 13 points on five possessions to put the Monarch ahead 28-26.

After River fought back to take a 34-28 lead, Olson answered with seven more points, including a late 3-pointer to give Mark Morris a 35-34 lead.

Olson applauded the effort his teammates gave on the defensive end when shots weren’t falling early.

“We know if we aren’t scoring, but we can stop them, the score won’t get out of hand and we can keep it even,” Olson said.

In the second half, the defense sparked the offense as the Monarchs pushed ahead 51-39 midway through the third quarter.

Columbia River’s Aaron Hoey did all he could to keep the Rapids in the game. He scored River’s last 11 points to draw River within 57-50.

Hoey would finish with 36 points, but it wasn’t enough as the Monarchs built their lead back to double digits for most of the fourth quarter.

Mark Morris captured its 27th league title in 32 seasons under head coach Bill Bakamus, who is retiring at the end of the season. The Monarchs will open the district tournament at home next week, while Columbia River (14-6) will take the No. 2 seed from the GSHL into district.

Mark Morris opened the season 5-5. But since the start of the new year, the Monarchs ran off 11 consecutive wins to take the league title.

“It means everything,” Stevens said. “It’s what we worked for. It’s been our goal all season. We had a rough start to start the season, and it feels good to finish on top.”

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