With just three weeks of the regular season remaining, the Yelm boys basketball program looked to keep its playoff hopes alive through two South Sound Conference games, while the girls battled in tough losses against Black Hills and Timberline.
In their first matchup on Wednesday, Jan. 18, against Timberline High School, the boys hit their home hardwood to take on the conference’s current top team. The Blazers entered the contest with a perfect 8-0 record in the SSC, and 12-4 overall, while the Tornados sported an SSC record of 3-5 and an overall record of 4-8.
Timberline’s senior star Brooklyn Hicks, who scored 30 points in the last meeting between Yelm and Timberline, found himself taking the game over once again. The UNLV commit finished the contest with a triple-double, as he scored 36 points and collected 16 rebounds and 10 points.
The Tornados defense couldn’t keep up with Timberline’s offensive pace and lost 85-65.
As the Tornados traveled to Peninsula High School on Friday, Jan. 20, they knew they needed to defeat the Seahawks in order to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Peninsula, which entered one game ahead of Yelm in the SSC standings, found themselves losing 59-56 to the Tornados in a game that went down to the wire.
Senior Trevontay Smith boosted the Tornados offensively, as he scored 18 points and collected one assist. Junior Damian Williams-Butler had a good outing offensively for Yelm, finishing the contest with 15 points.
“Beating Peninsula was definitely good for us, and I feel like having our starters back, and finally having more games under our belt with our team helped us come together and play better as a team,” Smith said following the win over Peninsula. “A few of us were able to make some really big plays at the end when the score was close and we played great defense.”
As of Monday, Jan. 23, the boys South Sound Conference standings were as follows: Timberline (10-0), Gig Harbor (9-1), North Thurston (8-2), Capital (4-6), Peninsula (4-6), Yelm (4-6), Central Kitsap (1-9), and River Ridge (0-10).
Yelm currently sits in a three-way tie with Capital and Peninsula for the final two playoff spots, and they find themselves in a solid position with the postseason nearing.
On Wednesday, Jan. 25, the Tornados will travel to Capital High School to play the Cougars in an important game for both schools, as they battle for one of the final playoff spots.
Then, on Friday, Jan. 27, the Tornados will return home for their final home game of the season in a league matchup against the North Thurston Rams.
The Tornados will finish their season on the road against the league’s bottom two teams: Central Kitsap and River Ridge. Yelm will head to Central Kitsap on Tuesday, Jan. 31, and conclude their regular season on Thursday, Feb. 2.
The Lady Tornados traveled to Black Hills High School on Tuesday, Jan. 17 to take on the Wolves basketball team. The Tornados showed fight during this non-league contest, but ended up losing 54-48.
In their second game in as many days, the Tornados traveled to Timberline High School on Wednesday, Jan. 18, to take on the Blazers, who currently sit as the SSC four seed. In their highest scoring contest of the season, the girls of Yelm put together 65 points on offense. But on the defensive side of the ball, the Tornados couldn’t stop the Timberline’s offense. The Blazers defeated Yelm 78-65.
In their final contest of the week, Yelm hosted the current second seed and 9-1 Peninsula Seahawks, who are the RPI’s 12th ranked team in Washington 3A.
The Seahawks defeated the Tornados 67-27.
Junior forward Henlee Sherman had a strong week for the Tornados, sporting a three-game total of 54 points and 40 rebounds, or 18 points per game and 13.3 rebounds per game on average.
The final four games of the Yelm girls’ season includes a home game on Wednesday, Jan. 25 against the Capital Cougars, a road game on Friday, Jan. 27 against the North Thurston Rams, and two consecutive home games on Tuesday, Jan. 31 and Thursday, Feb. 2 against Central Kitsap and River Ridge.
As of Monday, Jan. 23, the girls South Sound Conference basketball standings were as follows: North Thurston (9-1), Peninsula (9-1), Gig Harbor (9-1), Timberline (6-4), Central Kitsap (3-7), Capital (3-7), Yelm (1-9) and River Ridge (0-10).