Tonasket boys bounce back from disappointing loss at tournament

Photo by Brent Baker - The Tigers' Laz Ortega fends off Brewster's Easton Driessen during first round action at the Brewster Christmas Tournament on Thursday, Dec. 29.

Photo by Brent Baker – The Tigers’ Laz Ortega fends off Brewster’s Easton Driessen during first round action at the Brewster Christmas Tournament on Thursday, Dec. 29.

BREWSTER – The Tonasket boys basketball team didn’t have long to ponder its 30-point loss to Brewster.

The Tigers turned around 20 hours after their disappointing loss to the Bears to run past Republic 59-26 on Friday, Dec. 30, and take third place at the Brewster Christmas Tournament.

The underdog Republic team brought plenty of energy at the start, leading briefly at 5-3 after a 3-pointer by freshman Garrett Weller.

Republic stayed within three points until midway through the second quarter, when Tonasket launched a 19-0 run that turned a 16-13 lead into a 35-13 advantage late in the third quarter.

“Overall (the tournament) was a good experience for the kids,” said Tonasket coach Glenn Braman. “We weren’t real sharp, especially last night, but it was good for us to be playing over break instead of just sitting around. We didn’t shoot well either night, but tonight we got our defense to create some turnovers.”

John Stedtfeld led a balanced scoring attack with 15 points. Zac Davis, Dyllan Gage and Lazaro Ortega each added eight points and Michael Orozco scored seven. Davis had nine rebounds and Damon Halvorsen had four steals.

Saxon Brown led Republic with 14 points.

Tonasket (6-3) traveled to Republic for a rematch in its final non-conference game on Tuesday, Jan. 3 and opens Caribou Trail League action at Chelan on Friday.

Okanogan (7-2) walloped Brewster (2-6) in the tournament championship game, 80-49.

Brewster 70, Tonasket 40

BREWSTER – Brewster came out of its week off playing some sharp basketball. Tonasket did not.

The Tigers shot 3-of-25 from 3-point range – and Michael Orozco was 2-of-4 himself – and the Bears outscored Tonasket 20-4 in the final 12 minutes of the first half to take control of Thursday’s first round tournament contest.

“We encountered a very stiff defense that contested every shot and made our cuts difficult,” Braman said. “Our shooting percentage was very low, but we’re going to have to learn how to adjust to a much more physical type of game, get stops when we are not hitting our shots and keep the game closer.”

The Bears held a 37-25 rebounding edge, had fewer turnovers (14-9) and shot nearly 50 percent from the floor to the Tigers’ 27.6 percent.

Brewster led 26-11 at halftime and turned on the afterburners in the third quarter to open the lead up to 53-26.

Stedtfeld led the Tigers with 17 points, seven rebounds and four steals, with Orozco adding six points.

Easton Driessen paced Brewster with 22 points and Josh Squires added nine.

Okanogan trounced Republic 79-34 in the tourney’s other semifinal contest.

About Brent Baker

Brent, is a former reporter/photographer for the Gazette-Tribune and sometimes works as a freelance sports reporter for the G-T. Prior to working at the G-T, he was the sports editor for Sunrise Publishing from 2000-2005 in Michigan. He subsequently owned and operated Buckland Media, a high school sports website, in Michigan until 2010. He and his wife Kim, who have an adult son, moved to Tonasket in 2010. Brent worked as a full time reporter/photographer at the G-T from 2011 - 2014).

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