The way Brian Marty played basketball on Friday night at Tumwater High School was as simple as this.
“We told him to go, and he went,” Tumwater coach Thomas Rowswell said.
Marty, a senior guard, scored a career-high 33 points as the T-Birds flew by Centralia, 66-45, to open Class 2A Evergreen Conference play.
“I think we’ve started off pretty well,” Marty said. “We’ve got to throw the first punch every time, in every game, and we’ll be fine.”
That’s exactly what the T-Birds did against Centralia.
Cade Otton opened the scoring on Tumwater’s first possession, and the T-Birds went on an early 10-2 run, aided by one of Marty’s four 3-pointers.
Midway through the second quarter, primarily on the shoulders of Hodges Bailey, as the Tigers took their only lead.
Bailey scored 11 of his team-high 17 points in the first half to hold Tumwater at a manageable distance.
He helped the Tigers increase their lead to five before Tumwater took it back for good.
Marty hit his second triple with two minutes, 25 seconds remaining in the second quarter to give Tumwater a 27-25 lead it didn’t lose.
Bailey cut the lead back to 31-29 by halftime after a steal and layup at the other end of the floor, but that’s as close as the Tigers would get.
Marty, who is averaging 20.8 points per game, again helped Tumwater open up an 8-1 run at the beginning of the third quarter.
“He’s taken the role and run with it,” Rowswell said. “He’s had a few games to build some confidence, and I think that’s where he’s at now.”
The T-Birds continued to build on their lead, while consistently shutting down Centralia in the second half. The Tigers finished 17 of 58 shooting (29.3 percent), and scored only five points in the fourth quarter.
Eight of Marty’s 11 baskets from the floor followed possessions where the Tigers either missed or turned the ball over.
“He is really tough in transition,” Rowswell said. “We knew if we could get them to miss shots, get long rebounds and secure the rebound, then just let him go, he’s really hard to guard on the open floor.
“He was aggressive, and was able to create some space in transition, and get some looks, and get to the free throw line, as well as finish.”
Tumwater increased its lead to 20 points with 3 minutes, 14 seconds to go on Marty’s final basket from the floor.
He drove into the lane and pulled up for a short, off-balance jumper to make it 62-42.
Bailey, who is averaging 24.9 points per game, fouled out on Tumwater’s following possession, and the T-Birds cleared their bench less than a minute later to run out the clock.
“I thought we had a pretty good game plan,” Rowswell said. “We were just going to make it tough for (Bailey). I told the guys to play all 32 minutes.
“(Bailey’s) going to make his shots, but let’s make it tough for him, and see if we can get him in a lull where he doesn’t make it, and go on a run ourselves. I thought we did that in the second half.”
Tumwater (7-4, 1-0 2A EvCo) was the eighth-ranked team in 2A in the first set of the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association’s high school basketball rankings, which were released Friday afternoon.
Centralia (6-5, 0-1) was ranked 23rd.
Rowswell said that while he feels the T-Birds have put themselves in a good position so far, he is more focused on the remainder of league play and the 2A Southwest District tournament.
Tumwater went undefeated in 2A EvCo play last season, and won the district title, but lost the majority of its starters to graduation.
“I feel like we’re still growing, but right now the guys are competing,” Rowswell said. “We’ve won a few, but let’s see if we can get going and get hot at the right time.”
Marty echoed that.
“We’ve got a lot more to show, a lot more in the tank,” he said. “I think a lot of teams are just plateauing now, and we’re increasing every day, and getting better.”
Centralia 12 17 11 5_45
Tumwater 17 14 17 18_66
C –Shute 12, Bailey 17, Pertzborn 4, Thomas 6, Ashmore 4
T – Otton 4, Marty 33, May 8, Koukal 2, Kibler 3, Drayton 4, Weller 1, Geathers 9, Koelsch 2