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Darrington cant squeeze past La Conner
In a fiercely contested, poorly officiated boys basketball showdown, the Darrington Loggers did not have enough to overcome the hot shooting La Conner Braves Jan. 18.
The game was played in Darrington with plenty of fans from both teams filling the Darrington Community Center. The turnout created a loud, raucous feel to a close ball-game. After jumping out to a 6-0 lead to start the game, the Loggers saw their lead disappear and La Conner take control. The score remained in favor of the Braves until the final minutes when Darrington tied it up twice but could not get over the hump and take the lead. La Conner held on for a 63-57 win.
Right from the opening tip the Loggers attacked. Mike Parris nailed a baseline jumper to get Darrington on the scoreboard. On their next possession Justin ODell followed a Mark Jones miss to boost the lead to 4-0. Cory Hoveskeland then hit a fade-away and it looked like Darrington might run away with things. La Conner stayed composed, battled back, and reclaimed the lead before the end of the period, 16-13. They hit a number of outside jump-shots during the run.
In the second quarter Jeremy Monteith brought Darrington back to within one with a duck under move in the paint. Monteiths strong play all night around the rim nearly made the difference in the game. He, along with Parris, would control the rebounding and inside scoring.
Parris nabbed back-to-back buckets for Darrington down low midway through the quarter. His flurry put the Loggers within 25-19. Then it was Monteiths turn again as he delivered a short jumper that hit nothing but net.
Parris made a great catch on an entry pass from Skye Schillhammer to rattle home a basket and draw a foul right before half-time. At the half the Loggers trailed by six, 31-25.
To start the third quarter La Conner came out on fire. They hit their first five shots of the period, including several that went in plus a foul. Darrington was playing well on offense but could not close the gap because of the Braves hot shooting. On defense the Loggers allowed backdoor cuts to the basket that resulted in several easy baskets for the Braves before Coach Jeff Bryson called timeout to address the situation. After three quarter the Loggers still trailed 52-42.
The fourth quarter opened with a bang for Darrington as they went on a big run and got right back into the thick of things. Jones tallied a 3-pointer and Monteith scored again inside to bring the Loggers to within five. A Hoveskeland jumper off the glass cut the margin even closer and forced La Conner into a timeout.
The Loggers were playing excellent defense on the following possession when a referee botched a very important call. Hoveskeland blocked a three-point attempt by one of the Braves guards. Parris grabbed the rebound and the Loggers looked to be headed the other way with a chance to tie the game. But an extremely late whistle sounded and awarded the Braves three shots on the play, effectively quieting the Logger crowd.
Still, the Loggers battled back into the game behind Monteiths inside scoring. The lanky forward wormed his way to the basket on two straight possessions to tie the game at 54-54. Darrington got penalized again by the officials on a tough call on Hoveskeland. The Logger guard made a lunge toward a Brave ball-handler and deflected the ball free. While it looked like a clean play, it was all the opportunity the men in stripes needed to hit Hoveskeland with his fifth foul and end his night.
With La Conner back in front Darrington went inside to Parris who drew a foul on a dribble drive. He sank one free throw to pull the Loggers to within two at 55-57. Darrington then forced a bad shot from La Conner and rebounded the ball. They brought it down and fed Parris again who delivered in the post to tie the score 57-57.
Trailing 59-57 on their next possession Darrington could not get Parris the ball inside and instead threw a turnover. But on the ensuing play Mark Jones made a great hustle steal and got fouled in the process. He went to the line for a one-and-one but missed the front end. La Conner rebounded the ball and got fouled. They made both free throws to go up by four. Darrington then turned the ball over with only a few seconds remaining and La Conner sealed the game with a fast break lay-up.
It was a tough loss in an emotionally charged environment, but the Loggers stood toe-to-toe with the top team in the Cascade League and nearly pulled off an upset.