No. 10 Emerald Ridge spent three and a half quarters against No. 6 Curtis playing like it was worthy of sharing the top spot in the 4A South Puget Sound League South Division standings.
But then Curtis showed why it is a perennial power and the Jaguars are still searching for their first postseason appearance.
The Vikings (13-1 overall, 9-1 SPSL) wore down Emerald Ridge with suffocating defense as they turned a one-point lead with four and a half minutes to go into a 62-49 victory Saturday to retain sole possession of first in the league standings and push their winning streak to 10 games.
The game was tight throughout, and Curtis led 49-48 with 4:31 remaining. But it was all Vikings from there as they ended the game on a 13-1 run with worn-out Emerald Ridge going 0-for-9 from the field.
“That’s something we talk about all the time,” Curtis coach Tim Kelly said of his team’s ability to tire Emerald Ridge in the final quarter. “It’s not going to happen in the first or second quarter, but tonight it was pretty clear in the last four minutes our defensive pressure really showed up.
“It was nice to be able to tell our team at the end ‘See, it does work.’ ”
Curtis’ defense made it difficult for the Jaguars (11-3, 7-2) to run their offensive sets and get looks inside – something that had 6-foot-8 post Jeremy Harris in awe.
“Their defensive pressure was like nothing we have ever seen before,” said Harris, who led Emerald Ridge with 14 points and seven rebounds. “(No. 2) Federal Way had defensive pressure, but they didn’t have it as perfect as (Curtis) did. Even when we didn’t have the ball they were still getting in our face.”
Emerald Ridge still held a lead through much of the third quarter and looked to be on its way to extending its win streak to nine games.
But the Vikings took the lead at 45-44 when Dominique Jordan scored and Dom Robinson got a quick steal and a basket with 2.2 seconds to go in the third quarter.
The Vikings’ defense took over after that.
Andre Lewis led Curtis with 13 points and eight rebounds; Robinson and Tory Causey each added 12 points.