SNOQUALMIE – Snoqualmie Middle School hosted the annual Battle of the Birds basketball tournament last Thursday night at Mount Si High School against Chief Kanim Middle School, losing 37-23..
Not only did the middle-school ballers get the chance to see what it was like to play in a high-school gym, they also got a taste of what it was like to hear dozens of cheering fans calling out their names in the stands.
The seventh-grade game was played first. It began with a back-and-forth exchange of baskets between the two teams that resulted in a first-quarter score of 9-4, with Snoqualmie leading. Cody Hyatt of Snoqualmie accounted for four points, and Kevin Englund sank a shot as well.
In the second quarter, the game got a little more competitive. Chief Kanim’s Dane Portscheller made the first basket, bringing the Hawks to within three points, but then Snoqualmie’s Englund was fouled and given a chance to shoot at the free-throw line. He made one of the baskets and brought the score to 10-6.
Chief Kanim sunk a couple more baskets and brought themselves back to within two points of Snoqualmie. Then Snoqualmie’s Josh Williams and Englund each scored, and the Eagles led 12-10.
But Chief Kanim’s Gregg Beckmann wasn’t going to let the Eagles dominate. He made a three-point shot from courtside just as the sound of the half-time buzzer resonated through the gym. The Hawks were now down one point, and Snoqualmie led 14-13.
In third quarter, Snoqualmie put six points on the board, and Chief Kanim mustered seven, tying the score at 20-20.
Snoqualmie was fouled right away in the fourth quarter and sank two free throws, which brought the score to 21-21. But Chief Kanim dominated, and the Eagles had to treat every shot like it was the winning point, because they’d lost their shooting touch.
Instead, the ball seemed to favor the shots that were fired off by Chief Kanim. Portscheller, Tyler Littlejohn and Ryan Reilly each took turns sinking in hoops like they were playing their own personal game of horse, but speedier. In fact, the win probably could be credited to the three since collectively, they sank in 16 points in the fourth quarter, almost half the game total. The great Hawk defense was also a factor as the team only allowed Snoqualmie two points in the fourth quarter.
The final score was 37-23, a perfect end to a nearly flawless season for Chief Kanim. In addition to this win, the Hawks also won nine of their 10 games and took home the league championship. Notable performances for Snoqualmie included Gregg Beckmann’s five points and two steals, Stu Trombley’s four rebounds and two steals and Corey Lindberg’s four rebounds and one assist. Nate Joslin and Timmy Coleman also supplied good defense and hustle.
The eighth-grade Battle of the Birds game began with a three-point shot by Snoqualmie’s Zach Elmore, followed by a layup by Derek Donah, and before the Hawks knew it, the Eagles were up 5-1. Chief Kanim hunkered down, though, and pulled through with baskets by Josh Griffith and a last minute, three-point lob by Eric Tierney that pulled the Hawks ahead by three points with a score of 14-10 at the end of the first quarter.
Donah again came through for the Eagles early in the second quarter by scoring two points and hitting a three-pointer that brought the score to 19-18. But by the time the clock read 2:54, Chief Kanim had reversed things and was leading 26-18. But Snoqualmie quickly remedied this.
Donah had a steal, drove to the basket and nailed two points, and his teammates scored seven more to bring the score to 28-27, but it wasn’t enough. Chief Kanim pulled ahead with 22 seconds left on the clock when Logan McMackin sank a three. Snoqualmie trailed at the half by six points, 33-27.
Chief Kanim widened the gap in the third quarter when Marc Donnell and Tierney decided to seal the deal. Tierney had a few lay-ups and scored six points for the Hawks, with Tierney assisting. By the end of the third quarter, the Hawks’ lead had grown to 48-33.
In the fourth, the shooting turned sour for Snoqualmie and they were unable to make their shots. The Chief Kanim defense was also too much for the tired players. The Hawks pulled ahead 53-41 with 3:30 left to go in the game and hit their last basket with two seconds left on the clock, bringing the final score to 62-45.
Tierney was the leading scorer for Chief Kanim with 36 points. Griffith had 13, Donnell had five and Jim Lundon, Blaine Sutton and Steven Grace each scored two. Brandi Cason pulled down 15 rebounds.