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Tomahawks’ senior forward Aaron Kalab pushes the ball up the court against the Central Kitsap Cougars at the 3A Boys State Tournament on March 4.

 

The Marysville-Pilchuck boys basketball team entered the first round of the 2020 WIAA Hardwood Classic 3A Boys State Championship as they matched up with the Central Kitsap Cougars on March 4.

The Tomahawks made a statement from the start as they opened on an 8-2 run and showed off their defensive versatility at every position in their starting five. Pilchuck’s ability to run a switch defense from one through five proved difficult to overcome for the Cougars as they struggled to create open shots. After a dominate first quarter the Tomahawks looked like the favorite to run away with it, up 16-4.

In the second quarter, Central Kitsap started to attack inside and drew fouls as they began to go on a run of their own. With 2:20 left in the quarter, the Cougars held onto a 9-4 run to narrow the gap down to 20-13. In the final two minutes both teams traded baskets while the Tomahawks held onto their lead 24-16 entering halftime.

Marysville-Pilchuck came out in the second half shooting from beyond the arc, and unlike the first half started hitting. They kept their emphasis on the defensive end but with their newfound scoring output, rattled off a 13-6 run with 3:08 on the clock. Central Kitsap began to slow them down late in the quarter and managed to hit a few shots to match Pilchuck, 6-6, as they headed into the fourth down 43-28. Through the final quarter Marysville-Pilchuck controlled the game, matching any scoring output that the Cougars managed to create. With their backups running the last couple of minutes, the Tomahawks walked away with the 63-48 victory and continued to the next round.

“If we just play our defense, I think we’ll be just fine. We’re coming out confident and all we want to do is keep playing. It’s nice to get this one in and now we’re looking forward to the next ones we have coming up,” said Tomahawks’ senior forward Cameron Stordahl.

Stordahl led all scorers with 25 points while going four-for-four at the line and hitting three three-pointers. He also grabbed six rebounds, dished one assist and had a game-high three steals to cap off his performance.

“We always talk about controlling what we can control and it’s huge to be able to shut down teams on the defensive end, especially when we aren’t hitting our threes. We earned ourselves at least two more games and it’s all about taking it one at a time here on out,” said Marysville-Pilchuck Head Coach Bary Gould.

The rest of the senior starters stepped up where they needed to behind Aaron Kalab, Luke Dobler, Ethan Jackson and Brady Phelps. Kalab, forward, was second on the team in scoring with 13 points, four rebounds, one assist and two steals. Dobler, guard, was the final Tomahawk with double-digit points as he had 11, one three-pointer, four rebounds, a game-high seven assists and two steals. Jackson, center, had a game-high in rebounds with seven as well as having seven points and two assists. Phelps, guard, was unable to get on the scoreboard but filled his stats with four rebounds, two assists and a steal.

Off the bench they had seniors TJ Severn and Treven Southard alongside junior Elson Battle. Severn, center, played a total of six minutes but made the most of it with four points, one three-pointer and a rebound. Southard, forward, had the most minutes of the group with 10 and only scored one point but managed to grab four boards. Battle, guard, finished with two points and two rebounds in five minutes.

After winning in the first round the Tomahawks went on to lose their next two games against the eventual State Champion Garfield Bulldogs, 74-53, and the Wilson Rams, 75-66. They finish this season as a top-eight team in the State Tournament with an overall season record of 22-5.

 

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