Sports: Gray paces Chimacum in state tournament; Forks hanging on

YAKIMA — Steven Gray scored 20 of his 31 points in the second half, leading Chimacum to a 53-46 win over Nooksack Valley on Thursday in the Class 2A boys basketball championship quarterfinals at Yakima SunDome.

Gray’s free throws with 1:46 remaining in the third quarter put Chimacum (18-7) ahead to stay.

“It was a slow first half for us, almost anemic,” Cowboys head coach Vic Porter said. “After we changed up on defense the game seemed to swing in our favor.”

Gray scored 36 points in Chimacum’s first-round victory over Ridgefield.

Kyle Mitchell had 13 points and eight rebounds while J.E.B. Hobbs added 10 points and nine rebounds for Nooksack Valley (18-7).

Chimacum will play Medical Lake (20-4) in the championship semifinals today at 5:30 p.m. The winner advances to the state championship game and the loser drops to the third-place final Saturday.

The unranked Cowboys will finish at least sixth in state no matter what happens the rest of the tournament.

“We’re going to have to come out strong because they are a quick penetrating team,” Porter said about Medical Lake. “But hey, we came here with a purpose, and I don’t see these boys letting up.”

Forks 48, Ridgefield 38

YAKIMA — D.J. Huggins scored 16 points as Forks beat fifth-ranked Ridgefield 48-38 Thursday in the consolation quarterfinals at the state Class 2A boys tournament in the Yakima SunDome.

Forks (19-7) takes on Connell (17-9) at 9 a.m. today in the consolation semifinals. The winner is guaranteed no less than eighth place at state while the loser goes home.

Forks led Ridgefield 29-26 entering the fourth quarter and never trailed after that.

Jordan Justus added 13 points for the Spartans, who earned just their third victory in 10 games at the state tournament.

Drew Bleth poured in 20 points to lead Ridgefield but was held scoreless in the third quarter, when Forks limited the Spudders to just five points.

“That was probably the difference,” Forks head coach Scott Justus said.

Ridgefield (21-4) beat Forks by 10 in the Southwest District Tournament on March 1 but went two-and-out at state.

“We came to play today,” Scott Justus said. “We played a little smarter and a lot more physical.”

David Burr added eight points for Forks and Dustin Daniels had six.

The Spartans won despite shooting just 50 percent (12-for-24) from the foul line.

That will likely need to improve against Connell. The Eagles are led by 6-foot-9 post John Conrad and 6-7 wing Chris Knight.

“The key is stopping Knight, not stopping Conrad,” Justus said.

Daniels and Kevin Silcox are the tallest Spartans, each standing 6-foot-5.

Girls Basketball Steilacoom 51, Chimacum 33

YAKIMA — Mele Rich had 12 points and 12 rebounds, and Steilacoom beat Chimacum 51-33 Thursday in the consolation quarterfinals of the state Class 2A girls tournament at the Yakima SunDome.

Darcelle Esmeralda added 11 points and nine rebounds for the Sentinels (19-5), who took the lead for good early in the first quarter.

Steilacoom outscored Chimacum 16-1 in the second quarter and led 29-8 at halftime.

Caitlin Eldridge scored 12 points and pulled down eight rebounds to lead Chimacum, which was making its first state basketball tournament appearance since 1977.

Chimacum finished the season with an 11-14 record.