For Enumclaw to have pulled off an upset in Thursday’s 4A state quarterfinal game against No. 1-ranked Gonzaga Prep, the Hornets would’ve had to play nearly perfect.
But the only thing that was near perfect in Gonzaga Prep’s 53-30 rout of the Hornets was the Bullpups’ defense.
“We’ve been inconsistent in our execution offensively,” Enumclaw coach Terry Johnson said. “It’s an area we have to continue to improve, but they were very physical early, and we just weren’t really prepared for that. We didn’t respond as we needed. Hopefully it’s a good lesson for us, and hopefully it’s a lesson that we’ll learn that at this point, to compete against teams like Gonzaga Prep, it just shows how far we still have to come.”
The Bullpups jumped out to an 8-2 lead, but the Hornets answered with a 6-0 run capped off by a jumper from freshman guard Peter Erickson, tying the game with 1 minute, 34 seconds left in the first quarter.
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The Hornets wouldn’t score again for more than eight minutes.
“Obviously, that was a big key to that game,” Johnson said. “We just couldn’t quite get anything to drop. Even the couple of times where we executed well and we got the shots that we wanted, they just didn’t fall. But you have to give them credit, they played extremely hard.”
While the Hornets were struggling to score in the second quarter, the Bullpups were increasing their lead. Over the final minute-and-a-half of the first quarter and the first 6½ minutes of the second quarter, Gonzaga Prep used a 14-0 run to take a 22-8 lead. They went on to take a 28-12 lead into the locker room at halftime.
The Hornets’ struggles continued in the third, as they were held to just four points for the second straight quarter.
Junior wing Kaden Anderson came into the game as the Hornets’ leading scorer at 19.8 points per game, but he was held scoreless, missing seven shots from the field.
“We knew they would focus on him, and we didn’t get the ball moving early enough,” Johnson said. “He had some looks around the basket and they just didn’t drop today. That’s going to happen sometimes. … That’s where as a team we have to have other guys ready to step up and make some plays. It’s a lot of pressure on him and he’s carried us a lot this year.”
Anderson and Erickson combine for an average of over 30 points per game, but were held to two points by the Bullpups.
“We really pride ourselves on the defensive end,” Gonzaga Prep coach Matty McIntyre said. “That will always keep us in the game. If you can limit the two leading scorers for any team, you’re going to have a chance to be successful. We were better tonight than we have been in a while, so it’s a good sign moving forward and the task will be even greater tomorrow.”
The Bullpups will face No. 3 Kentwood at 5:30 p.m. in Friday’s semifinals. Enumclaw will face No. 6 Curtis at 10:30 a.m. in a loser-out game with the winner advancing to Saturday’s game for 4th or 6th place.