The Timberline High boys basketball team played with their best player hobbled, and the team’s second-best player watching from the sideline.
Still, Timberline persevered, The Blazers held off Narrows League rival Foss, 52-48, Saturday at Franklin Pierce High School.
“We preach all year long about sticking together through tough times,” Timberline coach Allen Thomas said. “And true character comes out with adversity. And tonight we saw that. Guys had to step up. Guys had to play out of position.”
Timberline (15-8) moves on to face another Narrows League foe, Lincoln, in the West Central District Class 3A finals. The Abes quickly disposed of Kennedy Catholic, 65-39, in the early semfinal game.
The two teams will play at 4 p.m. Monday at Kent’s ShoWare Center.
The Falcons (17-6) will meet Kennedy Catholic for the third and fourth seeds into the regional round of state at 5:45 p.m. Monday, at Franklin Pierce.
Down 50-48, Foss had a chance to take the lead with five seconds to go, but Dezmyn Trent could not handle a back-door pass from guard Noah Hunthausen, and lost the ball out of bounds as he tried to raise the ball to the basket.
Timberline standout Donaven Dorsey got loose on the ensuing possession, and sealed the game with a lay-in at the buzzer. Dorsey was mobbed by his teammates as he fell to the court.
“We definitely wanted to face Lincoln again in the ShoWare,” Foss head coach Mike Cocké said.
“That was our goal. But you have to give Timberline credit. They wanted to play in the title game a little more than we did tonight.”
Making Timberline’s win even more impressive is the Blazers played a man down, because senior 6-5 post Elijah Sanders was ejected in the third quarter of the team’s 56-52 win over Lakes on Friday after being whistled for his second technical foul.
Senior forward Levi Lambert-Wilson ably filled the void left by Sanders’ absence, finishing with nine points and a game-high 15 rebounds.
Timberline also played without leading scorer Dorsey for most of the second quarter. The junior 6-6 guard picked up his second foul with 6:24 left in the half.
The Falcons promptly went on a 16-4 run with Dorsey out, taking a 23-20 lead into halftime.
But in the third quarter with Dorsey again available, the Blazers stormed back, retaking the lead 33-29 after three quarters.
For a moment it appeared Timberline also would be without Dorsey, as he hit the floor hard on an attempted drive to the basket, leaving the game with just over seven minutes left with a right ankle injury.
However, Dorsey entered the game again a minute later, finishing the contest with a noticeable limp.
He scored 10 of his team-high 16 points in the fourth quarter.
“When he came back from the injury, he kind of focused a little more,” Thomas said about Dorsey.
Trent was just as impressive offensively for the Falcons, finishing with a game-high 29 points, including 12 points from beyond the arc.