Erik Stevenson provided the offensive punch, and the previously seldom-used Derek Williams supplied the energy.
Both were needed for the Timberline Blazers to pull away in the second half.
Stevenson scored a game-high 26 points and Williams gave a much-needed spark off the bench as the Blazers opened up 4A Narrows League boys basketball play with a 67-51 road victory over Yelm on Wednesday.
Stevenson, a sophomore, hit five 3-pointers with his final basket from long range capping a game-deciding 17-3 fourth quarter run for Timberline (2-0 overall, 1-0 league).
Williams contributed just two points, but received high praise from his coach for his defensive contributions.
“We were kind of searching for some energy and I thought we found it in the third quarter when I went to a kid who I hadn’t played all year in Derek Williams,” Timberline coach Allen Thomas said. “Derek came in and stepped up. Once he brought that energy I thought everyone else settled down and started to play the way we are capable of.”
Joey Hawks paced Yelm (2-3, 0-1) with 19 points and Chad Davis finished with 17 for the Tornados, who were able to trim the deficit to 42-39 at the end of the third quarter before falling victim to Timberline’s big run.
Yelm played without leading scorer Christian Davis, who was sidelined with a wrist injury.
“I think we came in a little tight tonight,” Thomas said. “I thought we tried to go for the home run early when we saw that Christian wasn’t going to participate, but we really struggled to find any kind of flow early.”
The Blazers, the defending 4A Narrows League champions, opened the second half on a 9-1 run to boast a 38-24 lead.
Yelm, however, failed to roll over and hit back with a 13-2 run to end the third, getting back-to-back 3s from Jacob McCown during the offensive spurt.
The Blazers immediately turned away the challenge in the fourth, turning several Yelm turnovers into transitions points.
“We have six new faces on varsity this year,” Thomas said. “I’m still mixing and matching and trying to find the right combination. I saw some guys step up tonight.”
Timberline closed out the first half on an 8-2 run to grab a 29-23 lead at the break.
Hawks and Stevenson shined offensively for their respective squads in an opening half that was colored with turnovers and poor shooting.
Hawks struck for 17 points in the first half and basically kept the Tornados within striking distance early with his strong outside stroke. The 6-foot-3 junior drained four 3-pointers before the intermission.
Stevenson wasn’t too far behind, going off for 15 early points and hitting a trio of 3s to help the Blazers established an advantage they would never relinquish.
Timberline also received seven points from Mika Allison.