Tumwater’s Thunderbirds had no answer early for Hudson’s Bay guards Quentin Raynor and Quadrese Teague.
The Q&Q duo — as in quick and quicker — scored 20 of the Eagles’ points in the first period as the Vancouver visitors went up 22-11.
Tumwater did find an answer, however, in its clear advantage: size. Weston VandenHazel, at 6-foot-10, was a handy target all night as the T-Birds caught and passed the Eagles in the third quarter and pulled away for a 68-53 victory in the Class 2A Southwest District tournament opener at Tumwater Pavilion.
Tumwater, now 14-6, advances to a Feb. 16 game at R.A. Long High School in Longview against Woodland, which downed Centralia Friday night.
VandenHazel rewarded Tumwater passes inside with 12 first-half points to keep the T-Birds within striking distance, flashing deft footwork and nice touch at the basket. He finished with a game-high 25 points.
VandenHazel downplayed his role in the victory.
“We still got stuff to work on,” he said, noting the T-Birds were sluggish early after not playing a game for a week.
In the first quarter the 6-foot Raynor scored 11 points, including three 3-pointers, and Teague, a 5-5 sophomore, scored nine. The pair tailed off after their flash-and-dash first period and finished with 16 points apiece for Hudson’s Bay (8-13).
“We knew they were good, we knew they were quick,” Tumwater coach Thomas Rowswell said of the Eagles. “I’m proud of the way the guys played all four quarters and stayed the course.”
Timely 3-point baskets by Jacob Gibbons in the third quarter yielded the first tie of the game at 35-all, then moments later the T-Birds’ first lead at 39-38. Tumwater never trailed again.
Gibbons, a 6-3 senior, nailed six 3-pointers in the game and finished with 20 points. Spencer Dowers ran the show for Tumwater and scored 10 points. Sophomore CJ Geathers played solid minutes off the bench and chipped in five points.
Hudson’s Bay plays a loser-out game Feb. 16 at a site to be determined.