Eatonville coach TJ Cotterill gives instruction to his team during their game against Montesano.
The Eatonville Cruiser boys basketball team faced a challenging start to their 1A Evergreen League season opener against the Montesano Bulldogs, ultimately falling short in a 61-47 defeat this past Thursday night.
The Cruisers found a brief glimmer of hope when Michael Stogsdill sank a three-pointer to give them an early 3-2 lead. However, Montesano swiftly regained control and maintained their advantage throughout the contest. A 6-0 run in the first quarter propelled the Bulldogs to a 20-13 lead by the end of the period.
The second quarter proved even more challenging for Eatonville, as Montesano dominated with a 7-0 run to start the quarter and then added a 10-0 surge midway through the frame, outscoring the Cruisers 25-10 and heading into halftime with a commanding 45-23 lead.
Despite the Bulldogs extending their lead to 26 points at one juncture, the Cruisers mounted a comeback in the third quarter, closing the gap to 14 points at 51-37 with a determined 12-0 run to finish the period.
While the teams played evenly in the final quarter, Montesano secured the victory, dropping Eatonville to 0-1 in league play and holding an overall record of 6-6.
Coach TJ Cotterill acknowledged the team's slow start.
“We came out flat unfortunately in the first half. But really proud of how we continued to battle,” he said.
Cotterill highlighted the team's resilience in the second half, emphasizing the importance of making the right plays and showcasing toughness.
Hunter Klumpar led the Cruisers with 12 points, supported by Amari Samuel's contribution of 11 points.
Next up, the Cruisers are gearing up to host the Elma Eagles on Tuesday, Jan. 16 at 7 p.m. Following that, they'll hit the road and head north to face the Sultan Turks on Wednesday, Jan. 17 at 7 p.m. Wrapping up the week, they'll conclude with a game in Hoquiam against the Grizzlies on Saturday, Jan. 20 at 5:30 p.m.