The Vernonia Loggers earned a spot in the state playoffs with a 51-43 win over the Nestucca Bobcats on Thursday, February 19 in the Northwest District Tournament. The #2 seeded Loggers will face #1 Kappa on Saturday, February 21 for the District Championship at Forest Grove High School. Game time is scheduled for 6:00 PM.
The win over Nestucca guarantees the Loggers a spot in the state playoffs.
In a tight, defensive game the Loggers struggled early against Nestucca, falling behind 9-0 and trailing thoughout the first quarter. The Loggers battled back in the second quarter and only trailed 25-21 at the half.
In the third quarter the teams exchanged leads and ended tied 35-35. The game remained tight until, with just over 2 minutes left, Logger senior, and defensive specialist, ZiXian Chen stole a pass in the Nestucca offensive end, raced the length of the court and put in the layup to give the Loggers the lead. Tristan Adams followed with a huge 3-point shot; when Brett Elliot was fouled on a 3-point attempt and cooly knocked down all 3 foul shots, the game was pretty much over. Elliot made some key defensive rebounds on Nestucca misses to close out the game.
The Loggers offense was once again directed by freshman Clay Sullivan who had a solid game, making some big shots, including a followup tip-in in the fourth quarter that was important. Senior Will Botelho had a good game in the post for the Loggers and junior Nikita Moskalev also made several important baskets and was strong going to the hoop for the Loggers. Sophomore Luke McCallum played a lot of substitute minutes and looked more than capable, especially teaming up with Botelho defensively to shut down Nestucca’s big man Brett Elder.