Jordan Marecek leads four Indians in double figures, with 17, as Northwest outscored Tuslaw 23-6 in the 4th quarter.
There’s not much that separates these programs. Tri-Champions of the PAC last year along with CVCA, merely seven miles on Route 93, and both teams will be challenging for a district final in a few months.
Coming into this one Northwest was coming off hanging 100 on Monday, while Tuslaw only allowed 16 points two days later. Something had to give.
Though the Indians scored two thirds of their points in the opening and closing quarters, most of this game was defensive minded. It was also a game of runs, which was never more apparent than in the opening quarter. Northwest started with a score off the tip, eventually going up 8-2 before Tuslaw answered. The Mustangs went on a run to take a 9-8 lead before Northwest answered with their own 9-0 run to extend the lead to 17-11 after one. Ashley Cudnik was impressive to open the game with 10 points in the period, including the first five of the game.
Tuslaw owned the second quarter as they managed a 10-3 run to force a halftime tie. The push was largely due to senior Selah Yost’s three ball coming to life. Fellow senior guard Emma Koons sandwiched a steal and score between a few Yost triples to knot it up at 26. Northwest started experiencing some foul trouble as sophomore post Bottomley had to spend much of the quarter on the bench, along with some other key players.
The second half was mostly Indians, as they doubled up the Mustangs in the final 16 minutes. Northwest pushed up in their press even tighter to start the half and Tuslaw was slow to respond. Once they settled down they had some success. Tuslaw had the momentum going into the 4th after a Hoiles banked three tied it at 35 and capped a comeback. Another three, this time from Tolly at the buzzer gave the Mustangs a one point lead and all the energy.
It was all Indians from there as they came out on a 6-0 run to establish a lead that they never relinquished. Yost knocked down her third triple of the game to draw Tuslaw within two, but Northwest turned it on and never looked back. The frustration for Coach Cobb and the Mustangs boiled over on a possession where they allowed consecutive offensive rebounds on missed Northwest back end free throws. The Indians went on a run with sophomore guard Cudnik, who finished with 15 points, on the bench for much of the quarter. The Indians took an early league advantage with a 60-43 victory.
Tuslaw did a good job in the first half of nuetralizing Northwest’s size, holding Spradling and Bottomley to a combined two points. However the post combo showed up in the second half where Bottomley scored all 12 of her points, and Spradling added 11. Emma Koons led Tuslaw with 11 points and a spirited defensive effort. Yost dropped in a trio of triples to add nine for the Mustangs.
This is a big win for Northwest who lost both games to the Mustangs last year, but still shared the league by virtue of a pair of wins over CVCA, who in turn beat Tuslaw twice. This is only one game down of the six that will determine the conference, buckle up!