Rainier Girls Secure Another Win, Boys End Season

By Nisqually Valley News staff
Posted 2/15/22

Led by Faith Boesch’s 24 points and seven 3-pointers, the Rainier girls basketball team lived to fight another day after a 53-38 win over Toledo in Rochester on Thursday, Feb. 10.

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Rainier Girls Secure Another Win, Boys End Season

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Led by Faith Boesch’s 24 points and seven 3-pointers, the Rainier girls basketball team lived to fight another day after a 53-38 win over Toledo in Rochester on Thursday, Feb. 10.

The Mountaineers got off to a slow start, trailing 9-1 early on, before getting their offense into a bit of rhythm in the second quarter and then exploding in the second half for 39 points.

“We started slow,” Mountaineers coach Brandon Eygabroad said. “We struggled to get going. We were getting everything but the finish in the first half.”

Enter Boesch, who hit four shots from distance in the third quarter and also hauled in eight rebounds over the course of the game.

“She did not want to go home,” Eygabroad said of the senior sharpshooter.

Eygabroad also made sure to shout out Bryn Beckman and Janess Blackburn for their strong rebounding, with Beckman notching a 13-point, 12-rebound double-double and Blackburn hauling in nine total boards. He also said freshman Brooklynn Swenson handled the Riverhawk pressure well, dishing out five assists.

The Mountaineers were set to play Forks in another win-or-go-home game on Tuesday, Feb. 15 at Castle Rock. The game took place after the Nisqually Valley News’ deadline.

For the Riverhawks, it’s a bitter end to a tumultuous season that saw Toledo hang around with some of the best teams in the state throughout COVID-19 protocols and shorthanded numbers.

Rose Dillon finished with a team-high 12 points and four shots from deep, and Greenlee Clark scored 11 in her final game for Toledo.

Eygabroad had nothing but good things to say about his opponent after the contest.

“They come out and play extremely hard, their defense is so tough,” he said. “They fought and gave us a true test. They never ever went away.”

•••

As for the boys, Rainier kept it within striking distance through the first half then collapsed in the second half in a 74-49 defeat by Ilwaco in a 2B District 4 playoff elimination game on Friday, Feb. 11 at Rochester High School.

As the Mountaineers’ offense struggled to knock down shots in the first half, they still just trailed 24-20 heading into halftime behind a staunch defensive effort.



But the 2B Pacific League champion Fishermen came blasting out the gates after the break, reeling off a 22-6 run to start the third quarter and taking a commanding 51-32 lead heading into the final frame.

Ilwaco again busted off a big run, this time 16-7, as the Fishermen put the finishing touches on Rainier’s defeat.

Senior Ian Sprouffske led the Mountaineers with a team-high 17 points, while freshman Jake Meldrum added 12 and Josh Meldrum finished with seven.

Sprouffske said it was a tough end for a group of eight seniors who’ve been playing together since they were in second grade. But he knows what he’ll remember about this team.

“How much we fought and how hard we worked,” Sprouffske said. “We didn’t get the result we wanted but we worked hard all year. We’ve been together a long time.”

First-year Rainier coach Ben Sheaffer said despite the loss, the Mountaineers have a lot to keep their heads held high about. The Mountaineers finished 13-8 overall in the tough Central 2B League and won a district playoff game, only losing to two of the top teams in the 2B Pacific League at districts.

“We did some good things this year with our seniors,” Sheaffer said “We didn’t want it to end this way but they have a ton to be proud of. I know our Rainier community is proud of those kids. I think what they left was a legacy of toughness.”

Seniors playing in their final high school game were Sprouffske, Logan Bowers, Curtis Keller, David Cano III, Thomas Ronne, Dylan Davis, Ethan Gonzalez and Brandon Diehl.

What Sheaffer will remember most about this group is their resiliency and willingness to never give up.

“I think in terms of being successful in life, I have no doubt they’re going to do that based on the grit and determination they have,” Sheaffer said. “I’m just really grateful that I got the opportunity to coach these guys. They brought it every single day. We didn’t always execute the way we wanted to but one thing’s for sure, we always competed.”

Earlier in the week, the Mountaineers competed against Northwest Christian from Lacey. At the Feb. 9 game, Rainier pulled away with the win, 62-37.

Bowers, who finished with 12 points, overpowered the Wolverines’ big down low, allowing freshman Josh Meldrum to feast. Meldrum, who scored a game-high 23 points, helped the Mountaineers build a comfortable 29-16 lead at the half.

Sprouffske added 15 points and Jake Meldrum chipped in eight as the Mountaineers outscored the Wolverines 31–21 in the second half to secure the win.

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