Cruiser boys take over top spot in Evergreen Conference

Eatonville’s Griffin Clevenger scores two of his career-high 24 points in the Cruisers’ victory over Hoquiam.

Eatonville’s Griffin Clevenger scores two of his career-high 24 points in the Cruisers’ victory over Hoquiam.
Cheryl Taylor

The Eatonville boys basketball team picked up a couple of victories over Tenino and Hoquiam this past week to vault it into the top spot of the 1A Evergreen Conference.

On Jan. 11, the Cruisers dominated the offensive boards and had four players score in double digits as Eatonville handed the Tenino Beavers their first league loss of the season and knocked them out of the top spot in the 1A Evergreen Conference standings with a 70-63 victory at Brock Court in Tenino.

Walker Bruun led Eatonville’s press defense with six steals, and Griffin Clevenger forced many Beaver turnovers, which the Cruisers turned into buckets. The duo gave the Tenino guards trouble all night and combined for eight deflections.

"Walker and Griffin are just so quick and they have incredibly quick hands defensively,” coach TJ Cotterill said. “They give us so much energy when they are active and flying around defensively. It's huge for us when they're doing that, staying in front of players and getting into passing lanes.”

The dominance on the offensive boards for the Cruisers, 26 of them, afforded Eatonville many second-chance baskets that helped lead to Tenino's demise. Shay Brannon and Kyle Cox led the charge with 15 and 12 rebounds respectively as the Cruisers out-rebounded the Beavers 54-43 on the night.

The Cruisers went on a 7-0 run midway through the first quarter, which gave them a comfortable cushion at 19-12 entering the second frame.

After a close quarter, the Beavers trimmed the Cruiser lead to six points at the half.

Eatonville extended its lead to 14 in the third quarter thanks to Clevenger's seven points and Bruun's six in the period.

The Beavers’ 11-1 run to start the fourth quarter threatened the Cruiser lead as Tenino pulled within two with four minutes to go, but Brannon put together a 5-0 run of his own to help extend the Cruiser lead to seven at 61-54 with 3 minutes to go.

With 2 minutes left in the game, Tenino's star shooter, Noah Schow, fouled out with 33 points, nearly half of the Beavers' points. Eatonville then sealed the game with some free throws down the stretch to take the win.

Brannon recorded his sixth double-double of the season with 24 points and 15 rebounds. Cox recorded a double-double as well with 11 points and 12 rebounds.

The Cruisers went from that tough match-up to another one with the Hoquiam Grizzlies on Friday night.

While the Grizzlies limited Eatonville’s regular top scorer, Brannon, to only six points on the night, the Cruisers’ other scorers stepped up.

Two Cruiser players posted career-high scores with Cox and Clevenger exploding for 24 points each. Hunter Klumpar tied his season-best with 16 points. Clevenger also drained a career-high five three-pointers in the game.

With the game knotted at 13 heading into the second quarter, Eatonville took the lead behind Clevenger's eight points in the quarter. The Cruisers headed to the locker room up by nine, 40-31.

Eatonville extended that lead to 16 with just under 4 minutes left in the quarter, but Hoquiam battled back and shrunk the Cruiser lead to six behind Michael Lorton-Watkins' 11 points.

The lead changed hands numerous times in the final frame before Eatonville finally got the upper hand. Brannon put an exclamation point on the game when he drove the baseline on his defender and riled the crowd up with a one-handed jam to put Eatonville up 83-76 with 40 seconds to play.

The Grizzlies missed three shots on their next possession before the Cruisers took the ball back, and Hoquiam fouled Bruun to stop the clock. Bruun hit both free throws to put the Cruisers up 85-76.

The Grizzlies tossed one last shot that missed, and Eatonville claimed the victory.

The Cruisers are currently 7-5 overall and 3-0 in conference play.

Next, the Cruisers head to Elma to take on the Eagles at 7 p.m. Wednesday.


Eatonville   19 13 21 17 -- 70

Tenino        12 12 15 24 -- 63

Eatonville: Shay Brannon 24, Walker Bruun 14, Griffin Clevenger 13, Kyle Cox 11, Hunter Klumpar 6, Mark Nueva 2

Tenino: Noah Schow 33, Austin Gonia 22, Brody Noonan 4, Will Feltus 2, Preston Snider 2

EATONVILLE 85, Hoquiam 76

Eatonville   18 22 17 28 -- 85

Hoquiam    18 13 20 22 -- 76

Eatonville: Griffin Clevenger 24, Kyle Cox 24, Hunter Klumpar 16, Walker Bruun 13, Shay Brannon 6, Mark Nueva 3.

Hoquiam: Michael Lorton-Watkins 42, Aiden Butcher 10, Justice Stankovich 9, Jalen Hobucket 5, Zander Jump 3, Timmy Higgins 3.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment