The first league victory came in the nick of time for the Washougal boys basketball team.
Austin Tran netted 13 of his team-leading 27 points in the fourth quarter to help the Panthers defeat Ridgefield 62-48 Jan. 28, at Washougal High School. He also made all eight of his shots from the foul line during those final eight minutes.
“I think this was one of the most important games,” Tran said. “It was either win this or not make districts. Hopefully, this will be the start of our run back into the playoffs.”
Spencer Adams beat the buzzer in the first quarter with a 15-foot jumper to give the Panthers a one-point lead. Washougal jumped up by seven points in the second quarter after a 3-pointer by David Wallace. Ridgefield made a three at the halftime buzzer to get within four points.
Washougal began the third quarter with an 8-0 scoring drive. Ryan Taylor dialed in a basket from long distance before the buzzer sounded. The Panthers led 43-28 in the fourth quarter, but the Spudders whittled it down to a 3-point game.
Tran nailed a huge 3-pointer for Washougal, and Noah Prangley added four hustle points. Tran, Prangley, Jake Weiss and Yorro Bah netted foul shots to help the Panthers pull away during the final two minutes of the game.
“All the hard work and the struggles, it all paid off tonight,” Tran said. “My team kept playing hard and we never gave up. That’s what I’m most proud of.”
Prangley and Patrick Jones both finished with nine points and eight rebounds. Adams added six points and Bah netted four.
“We played a lot better tonight than we have at any time this year,” Jones said. “If we keep that up, we are going to win more games and make our way back to districts.”
Washougal hosts Mark Morris tonight, goes to Hockinson Friday and finishes league at R.A. Long Tuesday, Feb. 21. All three games start at 7 p.m.
“All I’m asking from these kids right now is to play hard and compete,” said head coach Malcolm Estes. “I can’t ask for more than their best effort, and that’s what they’re giving.”