Bearcats beat Wolves down low, snap short skid

Jan. 24—Box score

At Black Hills


W.F. West11 15 15 11 — 62

Black Hills14 4 16 14 — 48

W.F. West (62) — Klatush 15, Eiswald 14, Hoff 11, Westlund 9, Brumfield 7, Potter 5, Rockey 1

Black Hills (48) — Nysted 13, T. Morrill 12, Morgan 9, Q. Morrill 4, Cedergreen 4, Fought 3, Nagel 2

TUMWATER — The W.F. West boys basketball team got the big win it needed to stay well in the hunt for a 2A EvCo title Wednesday, going up to Thurston County and coming back with a 62-48 win at Black Hills.

"They played with a lot of fire, a lot of grit," WFW coach Chris White said. "I'm really proud of them."

Tyler Klatush led the Bearcats (9-5, 6-1 2A EvCo) with 15 points spread evenly across the four quarters. But when the guests went on their runs, it came from their pair of Parker Eiswald and Grady Westlund in the post, who each put in one huge spell apiece to build a gap after a slow start.

The Wolves (9-6, 6-3 2A EvCo) led 14-11 after the first quarter, but Eiswald went to work, scoring five of W.F. West's seven buckets in the first five and a half minutes of the second — all in the post.

The senior finished with 14 points — 10 in that second quarter — with a combination of post moves and physical drives from the elbow.

"Parker just has really good balance most of the time," White said. "We're just trying to challenge him to keep taking it strong and not get pushed off of spots. When he does that he's a crazy talent."

Combined with a stouter defensive effort, the Bearcats went on a 15-4 run in the second quarter to go into halftime up 26-18. In the third, the Wolves found a bit more offense early, but Westlund took his turn in the spotlight with three buckets in a two-minute span — two coming off of offensive rebounds — to keep the lead at multiple possessions.

"I thought Parker and Grady played really well in the post," White said. "They were really strong on their takes, got a lot of strong rebounds, just had a good presence down there. I really liked what they were doing, they've grown a lot."

W.F. West ended up outscoring Black Hills 32-20 in the post, and scored 11 second-chance points.

Simon Nysted scored 13 points for Black Hills, and Talon Morrill dropped in 12. The Wolves will try to bounce back Friday, at Centralia.

The win keeps W.F. West within arms' reach of Tumwater going into the last week and a half of the regular season. Both the Bearcats and T-Birds have one league loss, though W.F. West's came to Tumwater, giving the Thunderbirds the tiebreaker for the moment.

That can all change Friday, when Tumwater comes to Chehalis, and now, with a three-game skid safely in the rearview mirror, White can see some momentum building on his sideline.

"I love coaching these guys," he said. "They've been stacking great days of practice, day after day after day. Us coaches really believe that they can be something special if they just believe in themselves. We're hoping to turn some corners."