Basketball is a game of momentum, and after a sub-par first half, the Emerald Ridge Jaguars wanted to reclaim it for good.
Emerald Ridge post Drew Livingston recorded four consecutive field goals and a free throw to erase a 30-19 halftime deficit and pull the Jaguars within two with 3:33 to play in the third quarter. But it was the closest they would get.
Bethel closed out the period on a 9-2 run and held off the Emerald Ridge rally for a 54-42 victory on Jan. 29. The Braves and Jaguars finished tied for fourth place in the Class 4A South Puget Sound League South Division. The teams were scheduled to play a one-game playoff Tuesday after press time to determine who would be No. 4 and No. 5 seeds to the playoffs.
“Basketball is a game of runs,” Braves head coach Jason Carrell said last week. “Emerald Ridge had a great start to the second half. ... After they got hot, we settled down and started to get some good shots. That was huge.
“As you move on, and especially during the playoffs, those kind of runs are going to happen, and you have to find a way to come back.”
Carrell said finishing fourth would is important with regard to playoff positioning.
“If you are the fourth-place team, you don’t have to play in that fifth-place crossover, loser-out game,” he said. “Being a four seed means you’re guaranteed two playoff games.”
Livingston finished with a team-high 17 points for the Jaguars. Emerald Ridge post Jeremy Harris, who added 12 points, said it was frustrating to not catch Bethel in the third quarter.
“That was the main thing that (coach Pat Mullen) talked to us about after the game,” Harris said. “We got it down to two, and all we needed was another stop, and we couldn’t get that stop. They went up by four points, and then they got their spark back.
“You could see before that they were defeated,” he said. “We just couldn’t get that last final bucket to get us tied. That is all we really needed.”
Harris said Emerald Ridge misses the presence of his brother, Marcus, on the court. Marcus Harris has missed the past six games with a hip-flexor injury. He was the Jaguars’ leading scorer before the injury.
“Marcus is a big factor on this team,” Jeremy Harris said. “He has missed six games, and we have only won two of those six. It’s been hard on us.”