Eatonville's Griffin Clevenger shoots and scores over Tenino's Noah Schow in a game earlier in the season.
In a challenging week for the Eatonville Cruiser boys basketball team, the squad faced setbacks against the Montesano Bulldogs and the Tenino Beavers, leaving the team with a 6-11 overall record and a 0-6 standing in Evergreen League play.
On Wednesday, the Cruisers lost 56-44 to the Montesano Bulldogs at Rainier Connect Arena. The game showcased a closely contested battle, with the lead changing hands 10 times.
Griffin Clevenger's four points kept the Cruisers within reach facing a 9-6 first quarter deficit. The second quarter remained competitive, with Amari Samuel contributing five points. However, the Bulldogs outscored the Cruisers 15-13, establishing a 24-19 halftime lead
Despite trading baskets in the third quarter, the Bulldogs used a couple of 6-0 runs and managed to extend their lead to 13 points before the Cruisers finished out the quarter on a 5-0 run to cut into that lead, trailing by only eight points heading into the final quarter.
Eatonville opened the fourth quarter with a 4-0 run, cutting the lead in half, but a late 10-0 surge by the Bulldogs sealed their victory. Hunter Klumpar led the Cruisers with 13 points and 9 rebounds, while Clevenger adding 12 points. Turnovers plagued the team, with the Cruisers committing 25.
Seeking redemption, the Cruisers traveled to face the Tenino Beavers at Brock Court but dropped a 59-38 game. Tenino dominated early with an 8-0 run. The second quarter witnessed an 11-0 run by the Beavers, extending their lead to 17. Eatonville managed to cut the deficit to 12 at halftime, but the third quarter proved to be the dagger, with Tenino's 18-0 run expanding the lead to 30 points.
In the final quarter, the Cruisers displayed a late offensive spark, but that 7-point advantage wasn’t enough to overcome the Beavers, as the Cruisers fell 59-38.
Clevenger led Eatonville with 11 points, and Klumpar contributed 10 points and 6 rebounds. Freshman Colton Herbrand, making his varsity debut, added two points and grabbed a couple of rebounds.
Now standing at 6-11, the Cruisers face an uphill battle for post-season play. To secure a district playoff spot, they must win their remaining games against Hoquiam and Elma. Additionally, they need Hoquiam to lose to Montesano, creating a tie for the final playoff spot at 2 wins and 4 losses. League tiebreaker rules would then determine the fourth seed.
Looking ahead, the Cruisers aim to regroup and celebrate Senior Night as they host the Hoquiam Grizzlies on Tuesday, Jan. 30 at 7 p.m. (results were not available at press time). The regular season concludes on Friday, Feb. 2, with a matchup against the Elma Eagles at 7 p.m.