North Thurston High School couldn’t produce a lasting answer for Shaw Anderson.
The Kelso junior poured in a game-high 32 points Thursday night at Foss High School as the Hilanders handled the fifth-ranked Rams, 67-58, in the 3A West Central/Southwest bidistrict semifinals.
“I thought we defended him well two out of three times,” North Thurston coach Tim Brown said of Anderson. “And he’s good enough that he even can score those times we defended him well.”
Pair Anderson’s effort with North Thurston’s cold shooting — the Rams finished 19 of 52 (36.5 percent) from the field — and it turned into a tough outing for the 3A South Sound Conference champions quickly.
Clay Christian and Jeremy Spencer, who each average more than 20 points per game for North Thurston, were constantly pressured in the loss.
Christian finished with 12 points, while Spencer had 11. Both were near season lows.
“They defended Clay and Jeremy very well, but they still usually make shots they missed tonight,” Brown said. “It was just a bad shooting night.”
The only other time the Rams have scored less than 60 points in a contest this season — they average 74.2 per game — was in their only other loss to Peninsuala (season-low 48 points) in the regular-season finale.
North Thurston managed just 15 points in the first half, after scoring only five field goals, and went into the locker room trailing by 11.
“When you shoot it like that in a playoff game, you’re probably going to lose,” Brown said.
But, the Rams did rally early in the second half. Tim Tenkley came out firing, hitting three of his seven 3-pointers during the game in a two-minute stretch, and helped the Rams climb back.
His fourth 3-pointer of the quarter, which came with 2:05 to go in the third, cut Kelso’s lead to 36-35.
Tenkley scored a team-high 29 points for North Thurston, and kept the Rams within reach for much of the second half, but the Hilanders eventually pulled away.
Following Tenkley’s seventh 3-pointer, which cut Kelso’s lead to six points with 42.3 seconds left, Anderson made a pair of free throws to seal the game.
The Rams missed four of their last five attempts in the final minute as the Hilanders punched their ticket to Saturday’s district championship game.
North Thurston (21-2) is still guaranteed a trip to the 3A state playoffs, and will play again at 3:45 p.m. Saturday at Foss for third or fourth place in the district tournament.
“We’re in that unusual situation where you’re kind of elated you’re still in it,” Brown said. “We really wanted to win tonight. I thought the kids were ready mentally and physically. We just didn’t play well.”
The Rams, currently at No. 13 in the RPI rankings, will play crosstown rival Timberline (18-5) for the third time in the final game before state regional seeding is decided.
“Of course we want to get to the Tacoma Dome and get that seeding,” Brown said. “There’s still a lot to play for.”
Prairie 64, Capital 40: The Falcons held Capital (17-7) to a season-low scoring night in a consolation-round game at Clover Park High School, and eliminated the Cougars one game short of a state regionals berth.
Kameron Osborn scored a game-high 23 points for Prairie, while Dante Heitschmidt added 13.
No Capital player reached double figures. Grant Erickson and Luke Layton led the Cougars with eight points apiece.
2A SOUTHWEST BOYS
No. 4 W.F.West 69, Tumwater 46: The Bearcats outscored the T-Birds 38-17 in the second half to keep their season alive in a 2A Southwest District tournament consolation-round win at Centralia High School.
Tumwater (11-13) was eliminated in the loss.
Brandon White scored a game-high 14 points and pulled down 12 rebounds for the Bearcats, while Jordan Thomas added 11 points and 10 rebounds. Bryce Dobyns pitched in 12 points.
W.F. West limited 2A Evergreen Conference MVP CJ Geathers, a Tumwater senior, to 10 points. Geathers finished his final season averaging 21.8 points per game.
Jelani Jones added 12 points for the T-Birds, while Luke Murphy had 10.
W.F. West (21-3) moves to to play league rival Black Hills (14-9) in a winner-to-state, loser-out game at 5 p.m. Saturday at Mark Morris High School. The Bearcats won both regular-season meetings.
Black Hills 77, Centralia 56: After dropping two regular-season contests to the Tigers, Black Hills kept its season going with a consolation-round win at W.F. West High School.
Centralia (12-11) was eliminated in the loss.
Black Hills (14-9) moves to to play league rival W.F. West (21-3) in a winner-to-state, loser-out game at 5 p.m. Saturday at Mark Morris High School. The Bearcats won both regular-season meetings.
Black Hills has won four of its last five games. The Wolves have advanced to the state regionals once in their history in 2011.
1B TRIDISTRICT BOYS
Pope John Paul II 47, Lummi Nation 45: The Eagles clinched their first trip to the state regionals in program history, edging Lummi Nation at Evergreen Lutheran High School.
Tim Sellars paced PJP with a team-high 14 points in the 1B Tridistrict consolation-round win.
The Eagles (13-11) play second-ranked Cedar Park Christian (24-1) in a consolation game at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Mount Vernon Christian.
4A WC/SOUTHWEST GIRLS
Rogers 58, Olympia 34: The Rams bested the Bears for the third time this season in a 4A West Central/Southwest bidistrict consolation-round game at Stadium High School.
Olympia (14-11) will play Union (15-7) in a winner-to-state, loser-out game at 3:45 p.m Saturday at Rogers High School.