The Tacoma Baptist boys were barely over .500, yet had an opportunity to clinch a spot in the Class 2B state basketball tournament Saturday.
The Crusaders hung tight for a half against Morton/White Pass, one of the best 2B teams.
The Timberwolves’ defense tightened up in the second half, allowing 11 points en route to a 44-33 regional-tournament victory at Mark Morris High School.
“They outmuscled us and it forced us to take too many bad shots,” Crusaders coach Eric Sivertson said.
Sophomores Dayton Pascua (12 points) and Brandon Stoehr (11 points) led Tacoma Baptist.
The Crusaders trailed by two points heading into the fourth quarter, but Morton/White Pass scored put-backs on three consecutive possessions to stretch its lead to 39-31.
Tacoma Baptist (13-11) was seeking to go to state for the first time since 2006.
Richland 68, Stadium 39: Four of the Bombers’ five starters scored in double figures, led by Payton Radliff’s 15 points, and Richland applied the kind of pressure it’s known for, forcing the Tigers into 17 turnovers in a regional victory at Wenatchee High.
The Bombers shut down Stadium’s top player, all-Narrows guard Eric Anderson-Connolly, holding him to six points.
“That’s the best team we’ve played since Curtis,” Stadium coach Doug Cocke’ said. “If you don’t talk on defense and you don’t handle their heavy ball pressure, they’ll tear you up.”
Richland (19-4) trailed 9-8 after four minutes, but Radliff made a 3-pointer that put the Bombers ahead for good.
Garfield 74, South Kitsap 65 (OT): The Wolves were 15 seconds away from pulling off one of the biggest recent upsets in the WIAA playoffs, but the top-ranked Bulldogs survived at Jackson High School.
Ryley Callaghan’s 3-pointer with 15.5 seconds to go gave South Kitsap a 63-61 lead in regulation. But the Bulldogs got to the free throw line with five seconds to go and Torrence Baker made both attempts to tie the game.
In overtime, Garfield broke away with an 11-2 run as the Wolves missed all 10 of their field-goal attempts during that span.
Jackson 58, Auburn 53: The second-ranked Timberwolves scored on eight of their first 12 possessions to build their 18-0 advantage en route to the win over the Trojans.
Auburn didn’t score until Rio Paul came off the bench to hit a 3-pointer with 18 seconds to go in the first quarter.
University 65, Enumclaw 57: The Titans broke a 54-54 tie with an 11-3 run during the final 2:24 in a regional game in their home gymnasium. Perry Rockwood led all scorers with 20 points for the Hornets.
Burlington-Edison 51, White River 50: Guard Rudy Mataya’s acrobatic layup with less than 30 seconds to go proved to be the winner as the Tigers knocked out the Hornets in a regional game at Lynden High School.
White River had a chance to win, but Dustin France’s mid-range jumper missed with five seconds to go. Alex Sayler grabbed the long rebound but missed a tough shot as time expired.
Burlington-Edison’s Austin Von Herbulis scored a team-high 15 points and hauled in a game-high 17 rebounds.
Brandon Dove scored a game-high 21 points for the Hornets.
Lynden 58, Sumner 39: The Spartans didn’t make it easy on the Lions, who have won 17 games in a row and will return to Yakima to defend their state championship.
Trailing 23-12 with 4:56 to go until halftime, the Spartans went on a 9-0 run, powered by seven points from guard Keenan Jackson, who finished with a team-high 13 points.
The Lions held Sumner to five field-goal attempts in the third quarter, outscoring the Spartans, 15-5.
Sunnyside Christian 63, Evergreen Lutheran 47: The Knights’ second-half surge proved too much for the Eagles to overcome in a playoff loss at Timberline High School.
Despite a strong performance from ninth grader Jeff Parker, who scored 18 points on 7-for-19 shooting, Evergreen Lutheran gave up 20 offensive rebounds – 14 coming after halftime.