Highline 66, River Ridge 60
(Lacey, WA) The River Ridge Hawks had their destiny in their hands coming into this game with Highline and could put a ton of pressure on the Pirates with a win. The Hawks were 8-2 trailing Renton by a half game who were 9-2 but both losses were to the Hawks so they had the season sweep tie-breaker. Highline had spent much of the 1st half of the season in 1st place but have lost 4 league games since the beginning of January including a 2-game losing streak heading into the Ridge game and needed to boost their 7-4 record.
The Hawks would also be short handed with leading scorer Trey Dorfner moving to Georgia to be with family and big man Kelle Sanders on a football recruiting trip in Utah left RR with a thin bench. Ridge got off to a fast start scoring 18 first quarter points and taking a 4-point lead but the Bucs would rally back in the 2nd quarter holding the Hawks to just 5 while dumping in 16 and taking a 30-23 lead at the half.
Highline spread the scoring out pretty evenly with Genaro Castaneda hitting for 7 off the bench, Arius Willis and Jaylen Martinez each had a half dozen. For Ridge Jordan Skipper-Brown and DeNero Washington each had 7 and was highlighted with a monster alley-oop slam dunk that energized the home crowd in the 1st quarter. Tenacious defense and solid offense from Highline quieted the crowd in the 2nd quarter.
The Hawks came out flying high in the 3rd knocking down 22 points. River Ridge focused on getting the ball inside to Josh Kennedy who would score 17 2nd half points all from inside the paint and going 5-5 from the line and then Kolton Knox scored on a beautiful behind the back save by Alex Coleman. Marquan Cannon and Ryley Larson would hit a pair of 3’s in the 4th quarter and the Hawks kept firing away from behind the arc but went cold while Highline stretched their lead down the stretch to as many as 9.
Highline would save their best quarter for last and it was Castaneda who completed the comeback with back-to-back 3’s giving the Pirates a 49-48 lead with 6:23 to play, a lead they would never give up. Castaneda finished the game with 4 longballs and 20 points. Darzell Walker would handle the ball, played great defense creating turnovers and knocked in 13 points with a pair of 3’s of his own.
The Pirates are now 8-4 in SPSL play while River Ridge falls to 8-3. Our Tommy Lowe of the Greene Realty Group Players of the Game went to Highline’s Darzell Walker and River Ridge’s Josh Kennedy while Genaro Castaneda won our ProActive Physical Therapy Play of the Game for those 2 huge 3-point shots that gave them the lead for good.
Highline: Genaro Castaneda 20, Darzell Walker 13, Arius Willis 10, Jaylen Martinez 8, Gerald Hood 5, Jack Burcham 4, Ryan Moormeier 4, Amir Shahzaad 2
River Ridge: Josh Kennedy 21, Jordan Skipper-Brown 17, Kolton Knox 5, Alex Coleman 3, Marquan Cannon 3, Ryley Larson 3, Mark Valerio 1