KELSO — River Ridge was feisty throughout, but the size and shooting skill of Mark Morris wore down the young Hawks in a 68-49 loss to the Greater St. Helens 2A champions in a boys 2A District IV semifinal at Kelso High School.
Mark Morris (16-4), which defeated River Ridge for the first time in the teams’ last five postseason meetings, progresses to the district championship game against Hockinson at 8 p.m. Friday at Saint Martin’s University’s Marcus Pavilion.
River Ridge (10-9) plays Centralia, a winner over W.F. West on Tuesday, at 7:45 p.m. Thursday at W.F. West.
Grant Gibb, a do-everything junior forward, scored 15 of his game-high 19 points in the first half as the Monarchs built a 38-24 halftime lead. Five of the six Mark Morris field goals in the second quarter were 3-pointers, two of them by the 6-foot-5 Gibb.
Mark Morris shot 52 percent from the field (28-for-54) and connected on nine 3-pointers. Evan Troy scored 12 points, and Cameron Mosier and Jared Bartleson added 11 apiece for the Monarchs.
River Ridge coach John Barbee said the physical nature of the game and hands-off officiating limited his team’s typical attacking style. But every game in a postseason setting, he said, is a chance for his team to mature. The Hawks have only three players who played varsity last season.
“It’s a great experience for these guys,” Barbee said.
Sophomore Kobe Key led the Hawks with 12 points. Jason Kananin added 10 points, Chris Leiba scored eight, and LaBrandon Price contributed six.
“We were able to get the looks we wanted to, and able to keep them off the glass,” said Mark Morris coach Bill Bakamus.
Hockinson 79, Capital 66: Alan Haagen made all five of his first-quarter 3-point attempts, and the Hawks rode the early burst to victory over the Cougars.
Hockinson (16-4), the second seed from the Greater St. Helens League, rang up 29 first-quarter points. They hit seven 3-pointers in the quarter to subdue the Cougars. Haagen, a 6-foot-1 senior guard, led all scorers with 30 points, dropping seven of the Hawks’ 12 treys in the game.
Hockinson will play Mark Morris in the district title game Friday.
Capital (7-15) moves into a Thursday game against familiar foe Tumwater, which eliminated R.A. Long on Tuesday night.
Capital trailed 29-17 after that first quarter, fell behind by 20 in the third quarter and then by 18 early in the fourth quarter, but the Cougars fought back in the final minutes.
Consecutive three-pointers by the Cougars’ Ben Pearce and Travis Miller with under a minute to play cut the deficit to 73-64 before a late basket and free throws gave Hockinson its 13-point win.
Anthony Duncan led the Cougars with 17 points. Miller added 16, Jacob Pratt tossed in 12 and Ty Gentry scored 9.
Jack Klodt scored 19 for Hockinson, and Taylor Rennaker added 17. The Hawks had only five players score in the game.
Tumwater 64, R.A. Long 56: Behind 16 points from David Cooper and 15 apiece from Josiah Warner and Jayden Croft, the Thunderbirds (10-12) remained alive in the consolation bracket of the 2A District IV tournament by eliminating the Lumberjacks. Tumwater now faces Capital in an all-2A Evergreen Conference loser-out game at 6 p.m. Thursday at W.F. West. The other consolation game features River Ridge and Centralia — another all-2A EvCo matchup — at 7:45 p.m. The winners of Thursday’s game play in a winner-to-regional, loser-out game at 8 p.m. Saturday at a location to be determined.
Napavine 70, Northwest Christian 44: Playing for the second time in two nights, the Navigators’ season ended in a loser-out contest of the 2B District IV tournament at Rochester. Northwest Christian finishes its season 9-14.