Garfield holds off Issaquah in back-and-forth battle, 61-59

Contributing writerMarch 7, 2014 

After losing a close game to Issaquah earlier in the season, the Garfield Bulldogs weren’t about to let it happen again with chance to play for the Class 4A state title on the line.

The Bulldogs smothered a last second shot attempt by Issaquah senior Brian Watson, and held on for a 61-59 victory Friday night in a 4A state semifinal game at the Tacoma Dome.

Garfield (26-1) will face Richland at 3 p.m. Saturday for the state title.

“I knew a little bit about what they were going to do, so we were prepared,” said Garfield coach Ed Haskins, whose team dropped a 65-63 decision to the Eagles on Feb. 1.

Tied at 59 with 20 seconds left, Issaquah’s Jake Henke fouled sophomore point guard Jashaun Agosto on a 3-point attempt. Agosto made two of three free throws to give Garfield a two-point lead.

After Garfield knocked the ball out of bounds with five seconds left on Issaquah’s final possession, the Eagles got one more shot. But a play for star guard Ty Gibson broke down and Garfield star Tramaine Isabell forced Watson into an off-balance shot from the corner, which bounced off the top of the backboard as time expired.

“We were going for the win,” Issaquah coach Jason Griffith said. “We were close … a second earlier and we would have had a wide-open three.”

Isabell, a Washington State recruit, led Garfield with 19 points, despite being held to just five in the second half.

“I feel like he played the fourth quarter like an MVP — a state MVP basketball player,” Haskins said of Isabell.

Garfield held Issaquah (19-7) to just nine points in the fourth quarter and played tough defense down the stretch in a game that featured 18 lead changes.

Watson finished with a team-high 17 points, while Gibson added 16.

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