In three seasons as the Timberline High School boys basketball coach, Allen Thomas probably never had done what he did Wednesday night at halftime of the Blazers’ 60-47 victory over Stadium: He gave a 45-second pep talk.
It’s not that the Blazers had played a perfect half; his team led by just seven points. But his talking points were made quickly, almost matter-of-factly about playing aggressively and rebounding, and he had the Blazers back on the floor with 9 minutes left before the start of the second half.
Timberline junior forward Jarryn Bush called the Blazers’ 4A Narrows League road win over the Tigers a statement win looking ahead to next Wednesday’s game at Olympia to wrap up the first half of league play. A win over the Bears means the Blazers (9-3 overall, 4-1 4A Narrows) will have a victory over every league opponent with the exception of Bellarmine Prep. With three of its next four games on the road, the Blazers then conclude its league schedule with three straight home games.
“If we can win on the road, if gives us the confidence that we can win at home in front of our crowd,” said Bush, who has averaged 26.5 points and 16.5 rebounds a game the past two 4A Narrows games. Against Stadium, Bush had 22 points to go with 18 rebounds.
The past two weeks have been a mixed bag for Timberline — from 35-point losses to 38-point victories — so resuming 4A Narrows play against the reigning league champions on the road and facing two of the league’s top scorers, Bobby Moorehead an Prince Hamilton, could have been another game with an uncertain outcome.
And for a time, it was.
With Timberline’s lead just 36-32 after three quarters, two baskets by Evans on the Blazers’ first two possessions of the fourth quarter pushed their lead to eight.
Neither team ever held a comfortable lead. Only when Tariq Romain drained two free throws with 2:26 left, giving Timberline a 56-42 lead, did Thomas feel secure enough to start emptying his bench.
The Blazers’ defensive priority was shadowing Hamilton (23 points) and Moorehead (18), but also making impacts elsewhere. The Blazers took eight blocking calls.
“Our focal point was trying to make guys uncomfortable,” Thomas said.