White River guard Jason Tyler saved one of the best games of his high school career for
one of most important games of the season.
Tyler scored 20 points and the Hornets’ three starting guards combined for 42 to lead
White River to a 56-37 win over North Thurston in a 2A boys’ basketball regional game
at Mount Tahoma High School on Friday.
The win sends the Hornets to Yakima next week for the 2A state tournament against an
opponent to be determined. The loss ends the Rams’ season.
“Tonight I felt like was one of our first nights that we actually closed it out,” White
River coach Rick Tripp said. “We’ve had some leads get away from us before so I don’t
know if we ever got too comfortable, but there were times when we started feeling pretty
North Thurston knew it was going to have trouble slowing down White River’s guards,
what it didn’t bank on was struggling so badly from the field in the first half. The Rams
didn’t make a field goal in the second quarter and managed just 13 points in the first half.
“There is no shame in losing to a team like White River,” North Thurston coach Tim
Brown said. “They’re a good team. They played well and we really didn’t play our best.”
After a back-and-forth start the Hornets grabbed control late in the first quarter with an
8-0 run to take a 14-9 lead. It didn’t get any better in the second quarter for the Rams.
White River ran off 10 more unanswered points over a six minute span to build a 24-11
The Rams cut the lead to 33-22 with just under four minutes to play in the third, but
White closed with nine straight points to put it out of reach for good. The Hornets’ Billy
Kiel added 12 points and Alex Sayler had 10.
“I thought we played pretty well,” Tripp said. “It probably wasn’t our best game, but it
was a good one. We really liked the match up and we had some seniors really step up.
They’ve been preparing all year for this and they finally got the opportunity. It’s been a
heck of a ride so far.”
— Joe Sunnen, contributing writer