Could there be a hint of more 253 magic inside the Tacoma Dome on Friday?
The Wilson High School boys basketball team looked like it might continue a Tacoma-school trend of state quarterfinal victories, keeping pace with fourth-ranked West Seattle for most of the evening.
But a fourth-quarter West Seattle run buried the Rams as the Wildcats of the 3A Metro League pulled away for a 62-54 victory in the 3A state quarterfinals behind 6-foot-8 forward Yusuf Mohamed’s 23 points and 11 rebounds. .
“From Tacoma, playing in Tacoma – our hearts are broken right now,” Wilson coach Dave Alwert said. “If we knocked down a few more buckets and a few more free throws we are moving on to the semifinals.”
Instead, it’s West Seattle advancing to face the winner of Garfield-Rainier Beach.
Wilson will face the losing team in the consolation bracket at 2 p.m. with a shot to play for a fourth- or sixth-place trophy.
Emmitt Matthews Jr. scored 13 of his 20 points in the first half, making 7 of 13 shots. He played most of the game after playing the entirety of Wilson’s first-round win against Capital on Wednesday.
The Rams as a team made 19 of 48 shots (39.6 percent) and 11 of 21 free throws.
“Our whole season has really come down to our free throws and our shooting percentage,” Alwert said. “I think we’re getting good shots. We got some decent looks. Just got to knock them down.”
West Seattle led 25-21 at halftime, with the 6-foot-7 Matthews picking apart the Wildcats’ defense.
“We gave him way too much space,” West Seattle coach Keffrey Fazio said. “He was finding pockets in the middle of the zone. We wanted other guys to shoot and we weren’t doing that.”
And Fazio pleaded for a halftime adjustment offensively – stop settling for 3-pointers and attack the paint.
That’s where Mohamed and his brother, Abdullahi stepped in. They combined for 36 points and 14 rebounds.
West Seattle point guard Nate Pryor, who was selected as the 3A player of the year by the Washington Interscholastic Basketball Coaches Association, scored 13 points with seven rebounds and three assists.
“We started attacking the rim and drawing fouls,” Pryor said. “I think we executed down the stretch. We knew that team was a fast team, so we tried to slow the tempo and we had to finish out.”
Wilson trailed 32-21 in the third quarter.
But with 6:29 to play, Matthews grabbed an offensive rebound for a put-back bucket to cut West Seattle’s lead to 42-38. He later soared through the lane for a one-handed dunk – despite all the minutes he’s played the past two days.
“He’s a tough player, man,” Pryor said. “He’s one of the best I’ve seen. Top three for me. He can get whatever he wants to get.”
But the Wildcats answered with an 8-0 run to push their lead to 12 points and never looked back from there.
“I thought we did a way better job this game (than Wednesday) against a very good basketball team,” Alwert said. “I just thought we got fatigued.”
TJ Cotterill: 253-597-8677
NO. 4 WEST SEATTLE
Wil: Hamilton 7, Matthews 20, Doss 3, N. Stokes 10, Mitchell 1, Bates 4, Penor 4, Allen 2, A. Stokes 3.
WS: Pryor 13, A. Mohamed 10, Y. Mohamed 23, Giomi 8, Harris 8