The Stanwood boys basketball team came into Wednesday’s first-round game of the state tournament against Shorecrest having lost two straight games for the first time this season.
A third consecutive loss would’ve ended the Spartans’ season, but thanks to a dominant second-quarter performance, they survived with a 63-52 win to advance to Thursday’s quarterfinals.
“It feels great,” Stanwood coach Zach Ward said. “It’s tough to play in that game, a loser-out game in the Tacoma Dome. You’re kind of here, but you know that you can’t mess up or you’re going home tonight or tomorrow morning. It’s a great bounce back, we’re a team that lost two games in a row going in here. That hadn’t happened all year, so it was gut-check time the last two days in practice, and I’m really happy with how the kids reacted.”
Stanwood trailed 16-14 with 6 minutes, 8 seconds left in the second quarter when junior Nate Kummer scored his first point of the game on a free throw. Kummer went on to score 13 of the Spartans’ next 17 points, including 10 straight at one point, to build a 31-20 lead. That lead was pushed to 34-20 at halftime with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by senior Quinton Borseth.
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“I just got out there and had a lot of energy for our team,” said Kummer, who finished with 15 points. “I got out there and just took it to the hoop, got fouled, shot free throws and just kept going.”
With Kummer leading the way, Stanwood outscored Shorecrest 25-8 in the second quarter.
“I would say he was in the zone,” Ward said. “He’s hungry. He’s a kid that’s our seventh or eighth man, but would start for most teams in our league. He’s just worked hard all year and was ready when his number was called.”
Stanwood’s reward for their victory over the Scots is a meeting with Nathan Hale, the No. 1 team in both the state and the country, at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.
“Let’s go do it,” Ward said. “We played Garfield, the No. 2 team last Saturday. We know Hale is a great team, that’s awesome. Let’s play it. Why not? … It’s 32 minutes. We’ll roll the ball out and see what happens.”