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Wolves earn first win at Tumwater in five years

Jan. 5—Box score

At Tumwater

WOLVES 62, T-BIRDS 46

Black Hills 19 15 12 16—62

Tumwater 13 12 15 6 —46

Black Hills (62) — Venable 23, Harris 15, Williams 8, Buchanan 6, McMahon 6, Klovas 2, C. Johnson 2

Tumwater (46) — Sumrok 16, Kolb 10, Schrek 8, Gjurasic 6, Fields 4 Simmons 2

TUMWATER — The checkmarks started coming early for the Black Hills girls basketball team Friday in their 62-46 win at Tumwater.

Less than two minutes into the second quarter, Carmen Williams corralled an offensive rebound and put the ball in the basket to give the Wolves a 21-15 lead — matching the most points they scored against the Thunderbirds last season.

Two minutes later, Natalie Buchanan missed a 3-pointer but beat the entire Tumwater defense to the rebound, putting up a second-chance layup for two more points. That made it 30-19 — the first time the Wolves had scored 30 points against the T-Birds since 2020.

"The program is trending back up," Black Hills coach Herb Guscott said. "I told the girls, 'It's not about this game, just trust the process, keep trending up and we'll be fine.'"

The Wolves kept trending up, against a Tumwater squad that came into the game already short-handed. And as the final buzzer rang out, the Wolves had their first Pioneer Bowl since the pandemic, and their first win at Tumwater since 2018.

"It means a lot," Guscott said. "These girls, they weren't around when we beat them last. It was a great team win."

The Wolves started with a long-range barrage, with Kiley McMahon and Tyler Venable combining to hit three 3-pointers in the first four minutes and score Black Hills' first 15 points. That got Tumwater to extend its zone defense out to the perimeter, and the Wolves took advantage of the resulting space inside with gut punch after gut punch.

Twenty-six of Black Hills' next 40 points came in the post, with the Wolves finishing with 14 offensive rebounds and 13 second-chance points.

"We've got bigs who can do some damage," Guscott said. "That helped a lot tonight."

Ashley Harris led that charge down low, scoring 15 points and coming down with five rebounds.

"Tonight we knew we could use her," Guscott said of his senior post player. "Nate (Buchheit) did a great job of putting his big on our guards, trying to slow them down, but that left Ashley open on somebody who was smaller than her."

Buchanan posted a team-high seven rebounds — four of which came on the offensive glass — and scored six points. Williams added eight more down low, six of which came in a two-minute stretch in the second quarter when Black Hills started to really flex its muscles, and had two blocks.

Venable still led the Wolves in scoring with 23 points, boosted by a 4-for-5 night from beyond the arc.

With leading scorer Regan Brewer on the sideline in street clothes, Tumwater turned to junior guard Sydney Sumrok, who led the T-Birds with 16 points. McKenzie Kolb added 10, and sophomore Elsa Schreck had eight.

Tumwater will get another tough EvCo test Tuesday, when it comes down to Chehalis to play W.F. West.

Black Hills will also be in the Twin Cities on Tuesday, taking on Centralia, and the Wolves will do it with the sort of momentum only a skid-snapping rivalry win can provide.

"I think they know that if we play the right way, we can do some damage," Guscott said. "We're that good. There's no doubt in my mind that this team can go to State again."