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Castle Rock basketball earns first state trophy in 20 years

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The Castle Rock High School boys basketball team, who returned last weekend with their first state trophy in 20 years after placing sixth at the WIAA Hardwood Classic in Yakima.

The Castle Rock Boys Basketball team finished the 2014-15 season by earning a sixth place trophy at the WIAA Hardwood Classic in Yakima over the weekend. The Rockets lost to Zillah, the defending state champion on Thursday, then knocked off Naches Valley in the consolation round.

In the trophy round, they faced a familiar foe and fell for the third time in four attempts to King's Way Christian, of Vancouver.

"I'm pretty happy with the way our season ended," said senior Ty Johnson. "Nobody even thought we could make it to state let alone trophy, but now we're bringing something home for the first time in 20 years."

The Rocket defenders slowed a powerful and quick hitting Zillah attack but the Leopards wore down the Rockets during the second half, outscoring them 36-23 over the two quarters. Ty Johnson led CR in scoring with 19 followed by brother Brock with 13. Mason Klingberg added 12 points and seven rebounds.

On Friday, CR assured themselves a trophy with a 38-30 over Naches Valley. The Rockets had to come back with a 22-14 second half burst. Ty and Brock Johnson led the Rockets with 14 and 13 points respectively. Nick Proudfit grabbed 12 rebounds to power Castle Rock to a victory on the Sundome floor.

Saturday found CR facing Trico League regular season champion King's Way Christian, a team that dominated the Rockets in the regular season, but were upended in the District IV Tournament and propelled CR to the Hardwood Classic.

The Rockets entered the fourth quarter with a slim lead, but the Knights tied the game and sent it to overtime where they found momentum and dominated for a 46-41 victory. Ty Johnson scored 12 points and grabbed 8 rebounds while big man Klingberg had a field day scoring with 18 but was held to minimal rebounding.

Castle Rock has been absent from the WIAA State Tournament since 2008 and it has been 20 years since a basketball trophy returned to "The Rock".

"The tournament experience was great," said Senior Post Mason Klingberg. "(It) was a really fun experience and was a great way to end my senior year. I think we proved a lot of people wrong because most people would of never guessed we would of made it as far as we did."

Surprise seemed to be the theme of the post-season comments from Rocket players.

"It's the first time my dad (coach) gets something from state," said Senior Guard Ty Johnson. "All in all with a team that everyone doubted throughout the season to come out and win the district title, pass regional, and place in state, that's a pretty great senior year."

The Rockets finished the season 17-8 after finishing 3rd in the Trico League and won the District IV postseason tournament.

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