As White River’s boys basketball team lost its sixth and seventh league contests in a row to Lakes and Franklin Pierce last week, the Hornets looked like a boxer whose spirit was willing, but whose legs were wobbly from taking too many punches.
Float like a bee and sting like a butterfly has been the story for White River in the 2008-09 campaign as the Hornets have dropped several contests by just a few points. That trend continued Jan. 27 as the maroon and gold lost 64-58 to a Lakes team that, at 11-1, currently shares the South Puget Sound League 3A lead with Enumclaw.
Friday, White River was playing in front of its home crowd. Buckley’s cagers were ahead of Franklin Pierce at intermission 29-26, but got outscored 23-3 in the third period. Despite outscoring FPHS in the fourth frame 13-6 the Hornets couldn’t make up the chasm that existed after the nightmarish third stanza as they simply let the game slip through their fingers and suffered a 55-45 setback.
One of the few silver linings for the Hornets has been the individual scoring performances by White River’s senior starters. While Nolan Gibson and Kenneth Thomas currently reside in the top five scorers in the SPSL 3A, it was their senior guard cohort, Casey Zimmer, who shouldered the majority of the scoring load last week as he put up a dozen against a miserly Lakes defense and 18 against Franklin Pierce.
“We lost a lot of our games by not very many points, because of badly timed fouls and turnovers,” coach Bill Hawk said.
“I think that the one thing we did accomplish during the course of this season though is that the four seniors on the team showed good leadership qualities and sort of showed the younger guys on this team what kind of work ethic it takes to become competitive, so that next season that knowledge will already be secure.”
White River’s next two encounters come against the only two teams it has managed to beat, Bonney Lake and Sumner. White River will travel to Bonney Lake to clash with the Panthers Thursday, host Sumner Tuesday and then travel across the river to take another crack at the King County Hornets of Enumclaw High. All games begin at 7 p.m.
Reach John Leggett at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-802-8207.