The White River High boys basketball squad used the holiday break to sharpen its skills in preparation for the balance of its South Puget Sound League 2A campaign, which reconvenes when it hosts Washington at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
In their two nonleague tilts during the Christmas respite, the Hornets suffered a pair of setbacks.
In their initial exhibition encounter facing Class 4A Kent-Meridian at Auburn Mountainview’s Invitational Dec. 20, White River never quite got its swerve on against a Royals contingent that bolted out to a 35-22 halftime advantage.
With the help of great perimeter shooting from its talented junior backcourt tandem of Billy Kiel and Jason Tyler, White River scored more points in the third stanza than in any other quarter of the contest with 17. The Class 2A Hornets just didn’t have enough firepower to hang with the big boys, suffering a 73-56 setback to Kent-Meridian.
Two days later at the ShoWare Center Shootout in Kent, it was deja vu all over again as White River was able to deal with the pressure of playing with a team twice its size for approximately the first half.
In the Hornets’ tilt with Class 4A Tahoma, the excited, vociferous and large throng of prep basketball fans that packed the arena saw a tale of two very different halves. After the game’s first 16 minutes Tahoma held a modest 27-25 upper hand.
In the second half, Tahoma’s crew, which outnumbered White River literally 2-1, was apparently done toying with the Hornets.
The suddenly stingy Bears put the clamps on a normally productive WRHS attack, holding the maroon and gold to a paltry 14 points the rest of the way, while lighting up the scoreboard themselves for 22 points in the third and 14 points in the fourth quarter to amble off with a 63-39 drubbing.
Tyler led the way in scoring for the Hornets in both of the nonleague affairs as he tabulated 15 points against KMHS and notched an even dozen against Tahoma.
“Although we have had kind of a rough start to the season, playing all of these tough nonleague opponents,” Hornet boss Rick Tripp said. “I feel like we are playing a little better in each game and all of these minutes against solid teams will definitely benefit us once the SPSL 2A begins in earnest after the break.”