M-P boys make history with 4th-place finish (slide show)

TACOMA – Coach Bary Gould’s boys basketball team made history Saturday.

The Marysville-Pilchuck squad beat Kelso 71-60 to place fourth in the state 3A basketball tournament.

“This is a special group,” he said. M-P beat the same Kelso team at state regionals about a week ago. So to make sure they weren’t overconfident, Gould reminded them that their goal was to place as high as they could at state, no matter who their opponent was.

“It took a lot of work to get here,” Gould said.

Plus, since losing to M-P, Kelso went on a three-game winning streak in the state tourney.

RaeQuan Battle, the only senior on M-P’s team, led the way with 25 points. Also scoring in double figures were juniors Aaron Kalb with 16, Luke Dobler with 14 and Cameron Stordahl with 10.

Battle, who will play for the University of Washington next year, had his best shooting game of the tourney, at better than 50 percent from both 2-point and 3-point territory. He also had 7 rebounds and 3 assists. Kalab led the squad in rebounding with 10, and Dobler added 9. He also had six assists and three steals.

As a team, the Tommies continued their strong presence on the boards in the tourney, outrebounding Kelso 38-30.

Shaw Anderson led the winners with 39 points. He broke the 3A record for tournament scoring despite the loss. He is going to Seattle Pacific University next year. He added 8 rebounds.

Kalab scored 8 points, and Battle hit two 3’s in the first period to help the Tommies to a 16-14 lead. Anderson had 10 points to keep Kelso close.

Battle made a 3 beyond the arc and the old-fashioned way, but then Anderson went on a streak when he could not be stopped. He hit a 3, made a 3-point play and made four free throws. But Kalab and Stordahl hit buckets to tie it at 33-33 at the half.

M-P went on a run to start the third. Stordahl scored after grabbing an offensive rebound, then Dobler hit a 3 and Battle connected on a 3, a bucket and then a turnaround jumper, putting the Tommies up 45-36.

Battle took a hard fall to the court and sat out the final 3:21 of the quarter. But M-P rattled off five-straight points on a 3 by Dobler and two free throws by Ethan Jackson to take one of its biggest leads of the game at 50-38. Kelso came back with a tip-in at the buzzer to cut the margin to 52-45.

Anderson didn’t miss many shots, but when he misjudged a stuff attempt that would have cut the lead to 3, M-P responded with a fastbreak bucket by Dobler. M-P then built the lead back up when Dobler hit Stordahl with a sweet backdoor pass then ended up a dunk, Battle hit a 3, Jackson scored on a pass from Battle, and Dobler assisted on a Kalab basket to put it away at 67-56 with 2:22 remaining.

Gould said last year’s district title set the tone for this year’s playoff run. But they have a lot of work to do to get back to state next year.

Replacing Battle will be the key.

“No one person can do it. It will have to be by committee,” he said.

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