Rough league start for Tonasket basketball teams

Cascade's pressure defense left the Tigers, including Amber Kilpatrick, little room to maneuver.

Cascade’s pressure defense left the Tigers, including Amber Kilpatrick, little room to maneuver.

TONASKET – With the memory of the previous night’s tough loss at Chelan fresh on their minds, the Tonasket girls basketball team couldn’t be blamed for being anxious to get things going offensively during Saturday’s Caribou Trail League contest with Cascade.

It didn’t help that they were playing without Baylie Tyus and the threat of her long-range shooting. Tyus was injured the previous night and was awaiting a doctor’s clearance to resume playing.

After getting blanked in the first quarter, the pressure seemed only to be building. Fortunately, the Tigers were able to get some shots to drop and made a game of it late in the first half before the Kodiaks pulled away to a 60-30 victory.

“We still had a lot of turnovers but we shot the ball better,” said Tonasket coach Mike Larson. “Even without Tyus we played with a lot of energy. We’re a very young team with very little experience.”

Trailing 11-0 heading into the second quarter, the Tigers put together a solid stretch where they were able to make enough shots to get into their pressure defense, create some turnovers and capitalize on turnovers. Amber Kilpatrick’s steal and score cut the deficit to 16-9 with 2:30 left in the half, but Kodiak, putting plenty of pressure on the ball themselves, forced four Tiger turnovers in the final minutes that led to 10 quick Cascade points. The start of the third quarter was much the same as three more Tonasket turnovers fed into a second quick 10 point run that gave Cascade an insurmountable 36-9 lead.

Still, 30 points in the final three quarters gave the Tigers something to build on heading into back-to-back road games against CTL powers Okanogan and Cashmere.

Devan Utt led the Tigers (4-8, 0-2 CTL) with 13 points and Megan Beyers had eight.

Freshman guard Kaycee O’Brien led Cascade (6-6, 1-2) with 18.

Chelan 52, Tonasket 9

CHELAN – The Tigers started off their first weekend of CTL play with a rough 52-9 loss at Chelan.

The Goats held Tonasket to just four baskets in the game. Remarkably, the Tigers didn’t get shut out in any of the four quarters, making one basket in each.

“They played more physical than us and forced us into many turnovers,” Larson said.

Chelan led 21-4 at the half.

Kathryn Cleman had three points to lead the Tigers. Abby Phelps had nine for Chelan (3-6, 1-0), which had all nine of its players score in the contest.

Tonasket 34, Republic 30

REPUBLIC – Tonasket avenged its Christmas tournament loss to Republic with a victory in their rematch on Tuesday, Jan. 3, pulling away in the fourth quarter to a 34-30 victory.

Amber Kilpatrick scored 14 points and hit a pair of 3-pointers to offset the defensive attention paid to Devan Utt, who was held to seven.

“Republic focused their attention on Utt,” Larson said. “She was able to help us on defense and rebounding. The bench did an outstanding job of contributing with points and great defense.”

The Tigers racked up 20 steals, including eight by Kelly Cruz and six from Kilpatrick.

“Our defense isn’t bad; we just need to capitalize on the other team’s mistakes,” Larson said.

The Tigers finished non-league portion of their schedule at 4-6.

“Our shooting percentage has got to get better if we’re going to compete in the tough Caribou Trail (League),” Larson said.