Fans looking for a Tacoma vs. Seattle matchup in the 3A Championship Game are going to have to wait a little longer.
The Wilson Rams came out flat, Eastside Catholic took advantage, and there will be no Wilson vs. Rainiers Beach final. At least not this year.
Senior guard Nathan Christie scored 23 points to lead the Crusaders to a 60-52 victory over Wilson on Friday afternoon.
Eastside Catholic (23-6) will play Rainier Beach (28-0) in the championship game at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Tacoma Dome. It will be the fourth meeting of the year between the Metro League rivals.
After a sloppy first half in which neither team handled or shot the ball well, Eastside Catholic took advantage of four straight Wilson turnovers to open the third quarter on an 8-0 run. That gave the Crusaders a 27-16 lead.
“We came out flat,” said Wilson coach Dave Alwert. “I think we played a good game of basketball after the first two minutes of the third quarter. It was too little, too late.”
Once they had a cushion, Eastside Catholic maintained composure and held off every Wilson run in the second half.
“We played our tempo the entire time, and knocked down open shots,” said Christie. “I never thought Eastside Catholic would be playing in the state finals.”
The Crusaders collapsed on Wilson forward Alphonso Anderson, and took advantage of height advantages at the guard positions.
“I definitely had a size advantage as a point guard,” said Christie. “We tried to exploit that, but it didn’t even work out as much as we thought it would. At random times, like sideline out of bounds plays, it ended up working out.”
Christie was able to get open looks from the corner, going 3-for-9 on 3-point attempts.
“They isolated us with the two-man game,” said Alwert. “They drove and kicked, and that kid knocked down a few 3s right in the corner. That’s hard to guard.”
Sophomore guard David Jenkins led Wilson with 17 points. Anderson scored 15 and pulled down 13 rebounds.
Wilson (23-4) can still take third place in the state. The Rams will play Bellevue (23-4) at 11:15 a.m. Saturday.
The Rams wanted the match-up with Rainier Beach.
“I wish, I wish,” Alwert said. “These kids deserve it. They’ve worked their tails off all season long. We’ll learn from this, and when we come back next year we’ll be even stronger.”