Castle Rock muscled its way past visiting Columbia High, 73-44, in Trico Division boys basketball action Monday night.

The Rockets (3-3 in Trico, 7-7 overall) moved into a three-way tie for third place in Trico standings with the win. The Bruins fell to 0-6 in Trico and 4-8 overall)

"Castle Rock is extremely physical," Bruins Coach Scott Kasenga said. "The toughest part about going up there is holding position, getting the rebound and holding onto the ball."

Castle Rock out-rebounded Columbia, 25-15, on the night. Its advantage on the offenive glass was 15-8.

Kasenga said Rockets big man Aaron Gehring was the difference-maker.

"Gehring was a dominant force in the middle and that opened up their outside game for them," Kasenga noted.

Gehring--one of four Rockets in double figures--finished with 14 points. High scorer Lucas Myers tossed in 18, scoring most of his baskets from the 12- to 15-foot range.

All told, Castle Rock made 29 field goals to CHS's 19.

Moreover, the Rockets got to the foul line for 28 attempts and made 13. The Bruins shot six free throws, but only one in the second half, and converted two.

Columbia's leading scorer was Kent Shelley, who came off the bench to net a career-high 11 points. Andrew Culp added 10.

At Columbia High 56, Lyle 40:

Austin Krentz scored a career-high 20 points and the Bruins snapped a six-game losing streak with last Thursday's non-league victory over the Cougars.

"That was a confidence builder for us," Bruins Coach Scott Kasenga said. "Lyle always plays us tough and give us a good game."

The win was Columbia's fourth in 11 starts and third of the year over Lyle, which now has lost the last five games of the series.

"White Salmon played a good game, shot well from the field, especially early, and got good leadership from Austin Krentz," Cougars Coach Joe Bales said.

A 12-4 run to finish off the second quarter left the Bruins sitting on a comfortable 31-15 halftime cushion.

Krentz tallied eight points before the break and Andrew Culp netted six on three straight CHS possessions late in the second quarter.

Columbia opened the third quarter with a six-point run and closed it with eight consecutive points that gave the Bruins their largest lead of the night (47-19).

Lyle (5-8) got within 13 points twice with under two minutes to go in the fourth quarter but no closer as Krentz sank a late 3-pointer to seal the win.

Bales said Columbia's trapping defense had much to do with the outcome.

"They pressured us the entire game and we didn't respond well to it," he noted.

The Cougars' Joey Nelson had 22 points--15 in the final frame--to lead all scorers. Justin Griffin finished with a game-high 12 rebounds.

Stevenson 71, at Columbia High 53:

The Bruins played catch-up from the outset of the Jan. 17 contest between the Trico Division's last two winless teams.

Austin Krentz scored 16 points and Andrew Culp had 14 for Columbia (0-5, 3-7), which found itself trailing at every break in play--22-10 at the end of the first quarter, 40-24 at halftime and 59-32 after 24 minutes of action--en route to its sixth straight defeat.

Jereth Robinson tallied a game-high 25 points for the Bulldogs (1-3, 5-6), who halted a three-game losing streak. Troy Stump and Daron Aman contributed 19 and 17 points respectively.

"Stevenson just came out and had a great game against us," Bruins Coach Scott Kasenga said. "They brought their `A' game as far as their outside shooting."

In the scheme of things, it was a pivotal game for two teams trying to position themselves for a second-half run through a Trico schedule that hasn't favored either to date.

Stevenson stated its case for the win in the early going, setting a fast tempo and taking a lead it never relinquished, despite repeated Columbia attempts to assert its own bid.

Krentz scored half his point total in the first quarter to forestall Stevenson's drive to break the game open.

Culp, held to six points in CHS' previous game against Hockinson, put in 10 in the second quarter as the Bruins doggedly tried to keep the Bulldogs on a short leash.

But, on this night, the Bulldogs weren't to be restrained.

They began the third quarter with a 10-2 run that included a pair of 3-pointers by Stump and pushed their lead to 50-26.

For the game, they made 67 percent from 3-point range (8/12) and 56 percent from inside the arc (17/31).

Conversely, the Bruins had too many empty possessions.

They turned the ball over 14 times and connected on just 22-of-64 field-goal tries. Their longest scoring run of the game was six points.

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