The magical postseason runs by the Mossyrock boys and Napavine girls basketball teams came to an end at the Spokane Area with both programs hoisting the second-place trophies at the Class 2B state tournament.
It was a historical tournament for both programs with the Vikings (21-8) posting their best finish in school history and the Tigers (24-4) equally their seasonal benchmark.
Mossyrock, led by senior Jaron Kirkley, lost in its inaugural title game appearance, 75-48, to Northwest Christian (Colbert), which captured its eighth title overall and sixth over the last 11 seasons.
Napavine, playing in its third championship game since 2008, fell to defending champion Okanogan, 60-51, as the Bulldogs capped back-to-back undefeated seasons with their 56th consecutive victory.
The Vikings’ run towards the boys title game started with a 69-57 victory over Friday Harbor in the quarterfinals. Kirkley scored a tournament-high 35 points and grabbed eight rebounds, while teammates Danny Nelson and Leovardo Munoz chipped in 16 and 14 points, respectively, against the Wolverines.
Kirkley notched his second consecutive tournament double-double with a 20-point, 10-rebound showing in the Mossyrock’s 55-48 semifinal victory over Lind Ritzville Sprague. Nelson scored 10 points to help the Vikings, whose previous best finish in state was a fifth place collected in 2007, advance to the championship round.
Kirkley went for 20 points and Munoz for 10 in the finals, but Northwest Christian Colbert jumped on Mossyrock quickly, leading by 14 points less than 6 minutes into the contest before cruising to the victory.
Northwest Christian Colbert’s romp towards the boys title included a victory over two-time defending champion Morton-White Pass in the quarterfinals, 59-54.
Kaleb Poquette, the Central 2B most valuable player and Lewis and Clark State College signee, gave the Timberwolves a 52-51 lead with just under 4 minutes remaining in the game. It was a lead MWP was unable to hold as the Crusaders’ defense held the Timberwolves without a field goal the rest of the contest.
Matthew Poquette finished with a game-high 16 point, older brother Kaleb scored 15 and Cameron Hart added 13 in the losing effort. It was MWP’s first defeat in a state tournament game since March 1, 2013 when the Timberwolves dropped a 62-59 contest to Northwest Christian Colbert in a loser-out contest.
Morton-White Pass had won the past two state titles, defeating Liberty (Spangle), 72-57, last year and St. George’s, 54-51, in 2014.
The Timberwolves secured their third consecutive state trophy by defeating St. George’s, 46-42, in the consolation round, getting a combined 26 points from the Poquette brothers.
MWP (25-4) lost its final game to Life Christian Academy, 49-47, to finish sixth in state.
Seniors Braiden Elledge, Derrick Erskine, Gage LaClef, Hart and Kaleb Poquette leave the program as four-time league champions and two-time state champions, posting a combined record of 100-10 during their four-year span, highlighted by a 60-game winning streak.
The Napavine girls team strolled into the championship round following a crushing 58-28 victory over Wahkiakum, last year’s state runner-up, in the semifinals. The Mules shot just 19 percent (9-of-47) from the field against the Tigers’ stingy defense. Melissa Lee paced Napavine with 21 points and 11 rebounds.
It was a different scene the day before in the quarterfinals when the Tigers won a defensive battle against St. George’s, 36-32.
Mollie Olson and Lee scored 12 and 11 points, respectively, against the Dragons. Napavine led by as many as 13 points in the first half. St. George’s was able to pull with 3 points at 32-29 with 5:14 to play, but the Tigers’ defense would shine late, holding the Dragons scoreless for the next 5 minutes.
In the championship game, Napavine led, 21-20, early in the second quarter before Okanogan was able to establish some breathing room thanks to strong free throwing shooting which helped the Bulldogs take a 12-point third quarter advantage.
The Tigers were able to trim the deficit to 53-50 late in the contest. Okanogan, however, sealed the game and its second straight state crown by making seven of eight free throws in the final minute of play.
Junior Lee scored 22 points and hauled down 13 rebounds in the state title game, while Grace Hamre added 13 points and Olson 11.
It marked the final game for Napavine seniors Hamre, Karley Bornstein and Rylee White.
The Tigers also finished as state runner-ups in 2008, losing 45-28 to La Salle, and in 2009 when they lost 56-35 to Colfax.