LACEy — North Thurston got off to a difficult start for the boys basketball season, dropping six of its first seven games.
Two wins in as many nights, however, has the Rams heading into the New Year with renewed confidence.
Steven Stone scored 20 points, Wes Reynolds added 17, and the Rams defeated River Ridge, 71-58, in the second day of the North Thurston Holiday Tournament on Saturday.
“We’re on a streak,” North Thurston coach Tim Brown said. “We’re a young team, but they are starting to come together. The big thing is they’re competing.”
Reynolds and David Marrero controlled the inside defensively for the Rams, who never trailed.
Marrero, a 6-foot-8 junior with a wing span of a shot blocker, finished with 11 points and six blocks.
“We’re going to pound it down low. That’s going to be our M.O. the rest of the season,” Brown said. “We are going to take advantage of our height and length.”
That’s what they did against the Hawks as North Thurston’s defense forced River Ridge (4-5) to settled for long-range jumpers.
Jason Kananin led the Hawks with 14 points, hitting a trio of 3-pointers, while Kobe Key added 12.
The Rams (3-6) had their largest lead at 55-40 early in the fourth quarter, but River Ridge was able to cut the deficit to 10 points four times during the final four minutes of play – the last coming at 66-56 on a Thayer Murphy 3 with 1 minute, 39 seconds left.
The Hawks were unable to get any closer.
The Rams turned to Reynolds, a 6-4 sophomore forward, early in an attempt to capitalize on its significant height advantage. Reynolds delivered, scoring 12 points to help North Thurston to a 31-24 lead at halftime.
River Ridge, which trailed the entire first half, cut the deficit to 18-17 on a Murphy free throw midway through the second quarter.
The Rams answered with a 7-0 run before the lead grew to 31-20 on Qe’Andre Adams layup with 30 seconds remaining in the half.
Tumwater 85, Yelm 54: The Thunderbirds rode their best offensive performance of the season to hammer the Tornados.
Josiah Warner was one of four Tumwater players to score in double figures, scoring a game-high 20 points.
The T-Birds also received big offensive games from David Cooper (16 points), Cole Hastie (14) and Zach Delucco (11).
Tumwater (3-7) opened the game on a 7-2 run and never let up, taking a 25-12 lead after the first quarter and a 37-15 advantage on Warner’s baseline jumper with 51/2 minutes remaining in the second quarter.
Warner lit it up from the outside in the opening half, scoring 12 points, and the T-Birds converted 18 free throws in taking a commanding 51-29 lead at the halftime.
Christian Davis paced Yelm (5-2) with nine points.
LES SCHWAB INVITATIONAL
Timberline 55, Beaverton (Ore.) 44: Donaven Dorsey scored 26 points and pulled down eight rebounds while Jarryn Bush added 12 points as the Blazers defeated the Beavers in the consolation round in Hillsboro, Ore.
Timberline (3-4) trailed 24-20 at halftime but rallied in the second half, shooting 70 percent (14-for-20) from the field, to pull out the victory.
The Blazers play Central Catholic, a 62-51 winner over South Eugene, at 11:30 a.m. today with the winner advancing to the consolation championship game.