The end result was the same as it’s been all season for the Bearcats, but Dakota Hawkins provided plenty of upside in a loss to Black Hills Tuesday night.
Hawkins, a 6-foot freshman, came off the bench in the first quarter and scored a career-high 28 points in W.F. West’s 69-56 Evergreen 2A Conference loss to the Wolves in Chehalis.
“He had a great game, and it was cool, because he didn’t force anything,” Bearcat coach Ryan Robertson said. “He just let the game come to him. A freshman that can put those kind of numbers up, that’s a nice night.”
Hawkins scored 20 in the second half and rarely missed, going 13 of 19 from the field and adding four rebounds.
The Wolves — and, most importantly, sophomore guard T.J. Mickelson — were simply too much for the Bearcats to keep under wraps.
Mickelson scored 38 points on 16 of 27 shooting, spreading it evenly with 9 in the first quarter, 10 in the second, 10 in the third and 9 in the fourth.
“We’d come down and try to execute and do all this stuff, and miss a shot, and he’d come down and come off one screen and pop off-balance, and it goes in,” Robertson said. “It’s like there’s not any justice, sometimes, but he’s a really good player.”
The Bearcats kept things close in the first half. Hawkins and fellow freshmen Brandon White and Nole Wollan accounted for 14 of the Bearcats’ 16 second-quarter points, highlighted when Wollan swiped the ball in the backcourt, drew a foul on his way to the hoop and hit both free throws with 12 seconds left in the first half to cut the Wolves’ lead to 29-24.
Mickelson, however, spoiled the would-be halftime momentum, bringing the ball up, dribbling down the clock and burying a 25-foot 3-pointer to put the Wolves up 32-24 at the intermission.
“We didn’t give enough help against him,” Robertson said. “We could have helped a little better, and that was part of the game plan we didn’t do very well.”
White and Adam Schwarz each scored 8 for W.F. West, while Wollan added 6 points. J.C. Cleary, Robertson added, played well off the bench.
Black Hills beat the Bearcats 71-53 the first time the teams play, back on Jan. 20.
“We’re still improving a heck of a lot. We didn’t really compete with them last time, and we’re in the game. We’re competing,” Robertson said. “There’s still a lot of progress; however, it’s not enough for us. We’re not happy with progress. We want us to make the commitment to win. That’s what we’re still working on and fighting for.”
The loss dropped W.F. West to 0-19 on the season and 0-5 in league play, with the final regular-season game of the year coming on Friday, when rival Centralia visits Chehalis for a boys-girls twinbill.
The Tigers (1-4 league) beat W.F. West, 74-58, on Jan. 16, the first time the teams met this season. Should W.F. West win on Friday, the teams would be tied for third place in the four-team EvCo at the end of the regular season; the Tigers’ tighter point differentials in its five league losses, however, would give Centralia the higher seed and No. 3 spot in the District 4 2A Boys Basketball Tournament.
The last-place team in the Evergreen 2A Conference will play Aberdeen — a 2A team playing in the Evergreen 2A/1A League — in a pigtail game for the No. 4 EvCo seed into the district tournament.
The Twin Cities girls game kicks things off at 6 p.m., with the boys following at 7:30 p.m.
-Aaron Van Tuyl, Sports Editor
DUCKS 50, TIMBERWOLVES 30
Morton-WP 8 3 7 12 —30
Toutle Lake 8 12 18 12 —50
Morton-White Pass (30) — Kolb 10, Walton 11, Brooks, Hazen 5, Allen, Robbins 4
FG: 8 of 34 —.235 FT: 11 of 18 —.611 Reb. 16 (Hazen 5)
Toutle Lake (50) — Britzy Hockett 8, Woodley 13, Deffenbaugh, Shank 4, Dean 2, Bailey Hockett 11, Gardner 12
FG: 22 of 54 —.407 FT: 3 of 9 —.333 Reb. 32 (Woodley 10)