The Washougal High School boys basketball team capped off a four-game road trip with a 58-53 victory at La Center Dec. 22.
After outscoring the Wildcats 11-4 in the third quarter, the Panthers made 13 of their 18 shots from the foul line in the fourth quarter to stay ahead. Curtis Crosby led the attack for Washougal with 15 points. Collin Prangley added 14, and Brody Oberg chipped in with 11 points and six rebounds.
Head coach Malcolm Estes said Oberg, Jake Klackner and Josh Bischoff had their best games of the season, so far. Klackner nailed two 3-pointers right out of the gate to help Washougal build a 19-11 advantage in the first quarter.
“He caught the ball in the corner where he likes it and started burying threes,” Estes said.
Bischoff switched to defend a player who scored seven points in the first quarter and held him to just seven more points the rest of the game. Crosby drained two threes in the second half and went 3-for-4 from the foul line. Oberg netted all four of his shots from the foul line in the fourth quarter.
“We really dominated in the second half,” Estes said. “It was just a great effort by the whole team.”
Although Washougal suffered losses to Hudson’s Bay and Kalama on this road trip, the Panthers also traveled to Chehalis and defeated W.F. West 56-51 Dec. 17. Prangley scored 13 of his team-leading 22 points in the second half. Crosby added 14 points and seven rebounds. Daniel Davis delivered 10 points.
“You learn a whole lot from your losses,” Estes said. “We’re coming together as a team. We’re starting to believe in each other and trust each other.”
Washougal (4-5) returns to action Tuesday, Jan. 5, and hosts R.A. Long.
The Panthers have not played at home since Dec. 10. Estes hopes to see a big crowd for all three games. The Washougal freshmen are 8-0 and the junior varsity team has won six in a row.
“We have to defend our home court,” he said. “That’s the key for us.”
Estes believes the race for the league title will feature a lot of twists and turns. He said the Panthers must be mentally prepared to play hard in every single game.
“We could win the rest of our games if we stay focused, or we could lose them all if we’re not focused. It’s that wide open,” Estes said. “I’m excited to see how this thing plays out. We feel like we have a chance every night. That’s all you can ask for as a team.”