Sports

Hornets cruise past Hornets

Those who were looking for an instant cure for their insomnia by attending the Hornet-Hornet boys hoop battle in the White River gym Friday night were sorely disappointed. An easy victory by the favored Enumclaw High crew never came to pass, as the Pierce County hoopsters shot well and kept within striking distance, trailing by only a single point (48-47) after three quarters of play.

While White River made Enumclaw work hard and earn everything it got, eventually Enumclaw pulled away to put their nemesis on ice, 64-55.

Both squads came into the high-energy rivalry having won their Jan. 13 games as White River wore down Sumner and EHS stuffed Franklin Pierce.

Staving off a second-half surge by White River proved to be a daunting task for Enumclaw, as White River’s Casey Zimmer, who recorded 14 points in the tilt, sunk two consecutive 3-point buckets from the top of the key in the contest’s closing minutes to make it a one-point game at 55-54.

As Enumclaw’s taller guards began to post up on White River’s shorter backcourt players, that last gasp by White River also proved to be its swan song as it mustered only one point in the game’s final four minutes. The waning moments featured a parade to the charity stripe by Enumclaw that saw Riley Carel bury four foul shots in a row to help create the somewhat deceptive 64-55, final score.

“Everyone knows that Enumclaw is one of the top 10 teams in the state and I consider them the best team in the South Puget Sound League 3A for sure,” said White River coach Bill Hawk, who guided Enumclaw’s boys several years ago. “But I feel like we gave them a run for their money and as a result, gave the fans on both sides of the gym some exciting basketball to watch.

“Enumclaw is just so balanced as a team,” Hawk said. “All of its players can shoot, rebound, dribble, pass and play defense. It isn’t as if you can just focus on stopping one or two players because they are all very talented and have been playing together so long, they know what to expect out of one another.”

Enumclaw coach Phil Engebretsen agreed.

“I really feel as though our balance is our strength,” he said. “Never mind that four of our guys put up double digit scoring nights. We also watched Tarren (VanTrojen) haul down 11 boards, Carel 10 and Taylor Myers nine. I was really proud of the way our guys finished tonight, stopping that White River run with great defense and rebounding.

Offensively, Engebretsen was happy his squad “stopped taking so many silly 3-point shots” toward the end of the game and wisely exploited its backcourt size advantage to collect some easy baskets inside.

The Hornets improved their SPSL 3A mark to 7-1 with the triumph over their cross-river foe that closed the book on the first half of the league campaign.

Enumclaw hosted Bonney Lake Tuesday night – with results coming too late to report here – and will head down the hill to visit Sumner at 7 p.m. Friday.

Reach John Leggett at jleggett@courierherald.com or 360-802-8207.

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