MONTESANO — The Forks girls basketball season ended with a 43-27 loss to Tenino in a pigtail play-in game for the No. 4 playoff seed out of the Evergreen 1A League.
“We shed a few tears [Tuesday] night, but emotion is not a bad thing,” said head coach John DeMatties.
It was a largely successful season for the Spartans. While they didn’t qualify for Districts, they won their first Evergreen 1A League game in three years, and improved from 0 wins overall last year to four (4-14 overall) this year.
“We won a few games and were competitive in others. That was a huge step [but] we still have a ways to go,” DeMatties said.
DeMatties said what he was most proud of is the girls were playing meaningful games down the stretch, something the Forks girls have not done in recent years.
“Last night was as meaningful of a game as we have had in seven or eight years,” DeMatties said. “The kids got to hold their heads up.”
Forks was a very young team so the Spartans have a bright future. For much of the year, they started two freshmen — Rian Peters and Jayden Olson — with a third freshman, Myah Rondeau, getting significant minutes off the bench. DeMatties said there are also some good eighth-graders coming up next year. He said it takes time to build up a program and that his young players will have to put in the effort year-round.
The Spartans graduate Skyler DeMatties, Brittney Woodruff and Kaitlin Rowley.
“We’re going to miss all of our seniors,” DeMatties said. DeMatties said he tries not to tout his own daughter too much, but spoke highly of her commitment to the team, even through some of their lean years.
“For four years, she put her heart and soul into the program,” he said.
In Tuesday’s game against Tenino, Peters led the Spartans with 12 points.
Forks ended up tied with Tenino with two league wins for the No. 4 seed, requiring the play-in game. Tenino will move on to the District 4 1A Tournament.
DeMatties, a first-year head coach, said he couldn’t have done the job without his assistants, Avery Ironhill, Jason Richard and David Hurn. He said they are the future of Forks basketball.
Tenino 43, Forks 27
Tenino 10 10 10 13 — 43
Forks 3 9 6 9 — 27
Tenino (43) — Bailon 8, Antill 6, Mathis 7, Wachter 8, Homann 13, Grayless 1
Forks (27) — Olson 5, DeMatties 2, Baar 5, Peters 12, Rondeau 1, Woodruff 2
Compiled from team reports. Email scores to [email protected] or phone 360-417-3525.