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Peninsula Daily News
FORKS — Braden Decker’s big fourth quarter wasn’t quite enough to help Forks overcome Hoquiam forward Cody Parker’s big third quarter.
The Spartans fell to the Grizzlies 34-31 in SWL-Evergreen Division play Thursday night despite Hoquiam scoring just one point in the final six minutes of the game.
The Grizzlies outscored Forks 17-6 in the third quarter to carry a 31-22 lead into the fourth.
Parker was most responsible for the offensive outburst as he scored a majority of his team-high 12 points in the third, including a pair of 3-pointers.
He pushed the lead to 33-22 with a layup early in the final period. It was the last points the Grizzlies would manage until David Sandstrom hit 1 of 2 free throws with about two seconds left in the game.
During Hoquiam’s drought, Forks continued feeding the ball to Decker and the senior kept putting it in the basket.
He scored eight straight points to bring the Spartans within two at 33-31 with 1:25 remaining.
“You go to your best player when you’re down,” Forks coach Rick Gooding said.
“And, he brought us back.”
Decker topped all scorers with 18 points and made shots to beat the second- and third-quarter buzzers. He also had five rebounds.
Forks had opportunities to tie the score or take the lead, but never did because its offense sputtered.
Gooding said his team struggled to execute offensive sets most of the game.
He also lamented the Spartans’ defensive rebounding.
“[Hoquiam] has some big boys; they’re the only team that can match up with our size,” Gooding said.
“But we didn’t block out. We gave them a ton of second chances, and our goal is to hold teams to one shot.”
Cole Smith grabbed 11 rebounds for the Grizzlies.
Leo Gonzales scored seven points and pulled down five boards for Forks.
Both teams struggled offensively.
Forks shot 30 percent from the field (13 for 43) and Hoquiam made 31 percent of its field goals (13 for 42).
“It was a pretty dreary game,” Gooding said.
“They made two more 3s and one more free throw than us, so that’s kind of what stretched out [the margin of victory].”
Although his team lost its third game in six days, Gooding appreciated how the Spartans closed the gap in the fourth quarter.
“They showed a lot of guts coming back,” Gooding said of his team.
“I’m glad they didn’t give up when we were down by 11 points.”
Hoquiam 34, Forks 31
Hoquiam 9 5 17 3— 34
Forks 8 8 6 12— 31
Sandstrom 3, Espedal 7, Newton 6, Parker 12, Smith 6.
Raben 3, Gilmore 1, Decker 18, Jacobson 2, Gonzales 7.
Forks 37, OT
FORKS ∏— The Spartans lost their fourth game in a row after forcing overtime by outscoring the Eagles 11-6 in the fourth quarter.
The loss ends a tough seven-day stretch in which Forks also lost to Tenino, Neah Bay and Hoquiam.
Tre Harris led the Spartans with 10 points and Decker scored nine, but the team-wide shooting slump continued.
Elma used a 2-3 zone that clogged up the middle, but the Forks shooters couldn’t take advantage.
“We couldn’t hit the ocean,” Spartans coach Rick Gooding said.
“We had a hard time shooting. A real hard time shooting.
“And it’s not just one person, it’s everybody.”
Elma (2-5, 2-11) got 21 rebounds from Chance Bremer. He also scored 10 points. Ray Stark led the Eagles with 12 points.
Forks (4-3, 10-5) will look to get back on the winning track Tuesday when it hosts Rochester. The Spartans beat the Warriors 41-40 last month.
“We all know we [need to play better],” Gooding said.
“It’s no secret that we’re better than how we’ve been playing.”
Elma 44, Forks 37, OT
Elma 7 6 14 6 11— 44
Forks 7 6 9 11 4— 37
Collin 10, Nauman 9, Stark 12, Bremer 9, Wilson 4.
Raben 6, Gilmore 4, Harris 10, Decker 9, Jacobson 4, Gonzales 4.