The Foss High School boys basketball team did its very best Saturday night to disguise its most glaring weakness, one that has plagued it all season long.
But the Falcons’ Achilles heel — playing solid defense — finally caught up with them in a Class 3A regional playoff game against second-ranked Stanwood.
The Spartans scored inside and out — and often with relative ease — en route to a 73-55 win over No. 10 Foss at Kent-Meridian High School, punching a ticket to the 3A state tournament, which starts Thursday at the Tacoma Dome.
“We haven’t been a great defensive team all year, unfortunately,” Foss coach Mike Cocke’ said. “We’ve kind of tried to outscore people (this year) and find ways to just keep it close and then win at the end. But (Stanwood) executes really well.”
A hard-nosed effort on offense kept the Falcons in the game early. They trailed after the first quarter, 15-10, and fell behind by 10 with 90 seconds to play in the half. But senior forward Armond Davis scored eight consecutive points, capping the run with a long 3-pointer to beat the buzzer, leaving Foss down just 29-25 at halftime.
The Falcons managed to tie it at 29 early in the third, but Stanwood (23-1) went on a 10-4 run over the final two minutes of the third quarter to push the lead to nine points.
“We knew coming in they have chemistry like nobody we’ve played this year,” Cocke’ said. “The ball moves (within their offense).”
Davis led Foss with 22 points, but he scored just six in the second half. Sam Dabalos-McMahon had 13 points, and Olashawan Miller contributed 10 for the Falcons, who finished the season 17-8.
Junior 6-foot-5 post Skout Roberson led Stanwood with 21 points, while guard Josh Thayer scored 19.
Saturday’s loss was especially painful for the Foss seniors, who failed to advance past the round of 16 for the fourth consecutive year.