By Michael Carman
Peninsula Daily News
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It was the first of what fans, players and coaches hope will be multiple championships this season
“Hopefully of many to come,” Neah Bay coach Gerrad Brooks said of the tourney title after Saturday's game.
The Cowboys managed to control the pace in the early going, playing a slowed-down, half-court style against the frenetic Red Devils.
Chimacum's John Carthum had the hot hand, sinking two quick 3-pointers for the Cowboys and post Orion Weller had four points, his second basket leading to a Neah Bay timeout with Chimacum up 14-9 with three minutes to play in the first quarter.
Neah Bay inserted 6-foot-6 post Grayson Porter in the game to challenge the 6-foot-4 Weller and Chimacum's other big man, 6-foot-5 Brendon Naylor.
Porter scored a fast bucket and then Josiah Greene knotted the score at 14-14 after reaching back for a pass from Ryan Moss that was thrown just a bit behind him, and gathering to score a layup and drawing a foul.
Greene sank the freebie, and after Neah Bay's Abraham Venske and Naylor swapped scores, the game was 16-all after one period.
Naylor was a force inside for Chimacum all game, leading the Cowboys with 18 points.
The Red Devils went on the offensive in the second quarter, playing their preferred brand of push-the-tempo hoops, earning second-chance opportunities after missed shots and generally out-hustling the Cowboys for a 35-24 halftime advantage.
“We just played our style of basketball and got on it [in the second quarter],” Brooks said.
“Our pace really seemed to bother them, and we got in our offensive sets and really ran our sets correctly and it broke it open for us.”
Greene had six points in the second and finished with 12 in the game after fouling out in the fourth quarter.
Chris Martinez was impressive for Neah Bay in the second, scoring four of his 10 points and serving as a disruptive force on defense as the Red Devils turned up the pressure on the Cowboys' guards.
Venske carried Neah Bay in the third quarter, tallying 10 of the Red Devils' 13 points in the quarter, most off layups on drives into the Chimacum paint.
He scored on a silky smooth baseline leaner from 8 feet out to give Neah Bay its largest lead of the game, 48-34, with 2:05 to play in the third.
Venske led all scorers with 24 points.
Chimacum wasn't finished, though, ending the quarter on a 6-0 run to pull within eight, 48-40.
The Cowboys continued their comeback to start the fourth quarter, pushing the run to 10-0 with freshman post Lane Dotson scoring his lone basket of the game and Weller adding a turnaround jumper that banked in off of the glass and trimmed the Red Devils' lead to 48-44, and forced a Neah Bay to call a timeout to talk things over with 7:05 to play.
Weller had 17 for Chimacum.
“We got a little accustomed to getting out on fast breaks and getting easy buckets and they turned it up a little bit, and I called the timeout to settle them down and get us back into our sets,” Brooks said.
Neah Bay maintained their poise, with Josiah Greene hitting a foul shot and a bucket, and Ryan Moss knocking down his free throw after being fouled on a made jumper. Moss had eight points on the game for the Red Devils.
Those scores gave Neah Bay a 6-0 mini-run that pushed the lead back to a safe 10-point margin, 54-44 with 5:01 to play.
“We got within four and then let the game get back to a little bit of [gym]-rat ball there,” Chimacum coach Jim Eldridge said.
Chimacum couldn't muster a second rally in the final five minutes, with Venske hitting four foul shots in the final 1:34 to seal the game for the Red Devils.
“We never stopped their penetration all game long,” Eldridge said.
“They were able to get to the hoop and get lay-ins or fouls, and our help on defense was a step slow on everything.
“We'll have to work on that.”
Both teams are on winter vacation until school resumes in January.
Neah Bay 64, Chimacum 54
Neah Bay 16 19 13 16— 64
Chimacum 16 8 16 14— 54
Neah Bay (4-1)
Venske 24, J. Greene 12, Martinez 10, Moss 8, Z. Greene 4, Doherty 4, Porter 2.
Naylor 18, Weller 17, Carthum 7, Dowling 3, Porter 3, Dotson 2, Hitt 2, Bainbridge 2.