KNAPPA — The favorites for the Class 2A state title in boys basketball?
It’s looking more and more like the Knappa Loggers.
Having already knocked off No. 1-ranked Western Mennonite, the Loggers took down No. 2 Columbia Christian, 64-58, in a Tuesday night showdown between the two powers of 2A boys basketball and the Northwest League.
And the Knights and Loggers (currently tied at 16-1 in the NWL standings) may not even be halfway done in the battle to be the best.
In an odd standard operating procedure for the league, the two teams will likely have to play a tie-breaker for the NWL title early next week, which will decide first place in the regular season.
Then the Knights and Loggers will turn right around and play a fourth — and most meaningful — game Feb. 17 at a neutral site for the No. 1 seed to the state playoffs. And once they get to state, the Knights and Loggers could end up facing each other at the state tournament in Pendleton.
For now: Advantage, Knappa.
The Knappa gymnasium was packed Tuesday like it was for games 20 years ago — which, incidentally, was also a state championship season for the Loggers.
“Round 2 goes to us,” said Knappa coach Chris Spencer. “But we’ll see them again. We’re not done with that team yet.”
Knappa trailed after one quarter in Tuesday’s game, but the Loggers ran the Knights off the court the rest of the way.
“We just wanted it more,” Spencer said. “We spread them out and just kept attacking. Just straight attacking, and we didn’t take our foot off the gas.”
And offensively, it was also a balanced attack for the Loggers, who finished with four players in double figures.
Eli Takalo led with 17 points, followed by Timber Engblom with 15. Dale Takalo was held well below his scoring average but still finished with 12, and Colton Weirup chipped in 10.
“Eli had three threes, and they all came at big times,” Spencer said. “Eli and Dale had key baskets, and Joe Ramvick added a couple key scores. (The Knights) still made a run in the fourth and got to within four, but Timber made a big and-one (three-point play) with about two minutes left, and Dale did the rest at the free throw line,” where he was 5-for-6 in the fourth quarter.
The biggest shot — distance-wise — belonged to Engblom, who drilled a half-court shot to finish the first half, giving Knappa a 33-28 lead.