In the boys Pacific 2B Basketball League Life Christian holds a narrow lead by only two games and there is a virtual logjam sorting out the 2-5 positions as the season starts to close out and Districts loom in February.
For the hometown Seagulls, they have been on a short win streak and look to finish out the season. Their remaining games will be league games facing North Beach and Tacoma Baptist as their final road games returning for their final two home games on Feb. 3 against South Bend and Ilwaco on Feb. 5.
This past Friday night, Raymond faced Ilwaco for the first time this season beating them 57-48.
"Ilwaco came out strong and ready to play in the first quarter," said Raymond coach Derek Rask. "Their crowd was loud and it was a great atmosphere for them and they took advantage of it."
For the Gulls, Kason Koski put up 20 points to lead the boys from Raymond supported by Rayce Newman at 16. Jayce Freeman and Landon Maneman each took down six rebounds apiece with Freeman setting the pace in steals at five and as many assists to the team total 57.
Starting out a little behind, the Gulls were able to mount a comeback and secure the victory.
"In the second quarter we were able to fight back and take a lead, noted coach Rask. "From that point we played better on the defensive end which contributed to the win."
In the rivalry game against Willapa Valley, the Seagulls had just come off a win over Chief Leschi and were ready for more.
"We wanted to hang our hats on the defensive end," explained coach Rask. "We thought that if we focused on the defense, it would work toward the offense and it has worked for the last couple of games for us."
And it served them well coming out of the gate with a 8-0 lead in the first minutes of the contest against Valley.
"Raymond came out and fired on all cylinders, made some big shots - and we went down 8-0 before we knew it," said Willapa Valley coach Jay Pearson.
The Gulls would be able to extend their lead by as much as 15, but Valley made it a good contest by keeping on the heels of their opponents.
"We played very hard and we battled. It would have been very easy to fold the tents. I have to give it to Raymond - they took it to us," concluded Pearson.
"We were into foul trouble - but we decided to stay with it and be aggressive in the game. We had a decent rotation planned and we just wanted to stay with it, and it worked," finished coach Rask.
Raymond was able to stave off the Vikings 57-48, as they split games during the regular season.