River Ridge’s Thayer Murphy wasn’t hitting his shots Saturday night, but he hit the one that counted the most.
Murphy’s one-handed floater in the lane with four seconds remaining gave the Hawks a 67-65 win over Washington in the Class 2A District 2/3 boys basketball title game Saturday night at Foss High School.
Murphy’s game winner was the final basket in a wild 90 seconds to end the game.
Trailing by nine to start the final quarter, the Patriots tied the game at 59-all on a Tory Causey drive with two minutes to go.
Jason Kananin answered with a 3-pointer from the left wing to put River Ridge (22-5) back on top, 62-59.
Washington’s Chandler Whalen responded with a 3-pointer of his own with 1:21 remaining. Kananin canned another 3-pointer — his fifth of the game — to put the Hawks on top 65-62 before Whalen answered again, tying it back up at 65-all with 32 seconds to go.
With 19 seconds to go, during a timeout, River Ridge coach John Barbee drew up a play designed to get Kananin loose for an open shot. After the play broke down, the ball ended up in Murphy’s hands at the top of the key with seven seconds on the clock.
“We came out in a set and it just broke down, we didn’t have what we wanted, so we pulled it out. I knew I wasn’t hitting my shots tonight, so my first thought was to get to the hoop. Somehow it fell,” Murphy said.
Causey’s heave from just inside in the half-court line at the buzzer was well off, igniting a Hawks celebration.
“It was exactly what you expect from a championship game. Two good teams with good players,” Barbee said. “We lost some one and two point games early on this year. I think we showed tonight that we learned from those games, learned out to keep our composure and battle it the whole way.”
Washington (21-7) was plagued by its free throw shooting throughout, finishing the night 5 of 18.
“River Ridge played a great game but we just can’t shoot like that and win,” said Washington coach Karl Cordes.
Kananin led the Hawks with 24 points. Kobe Key added 11 points, grabbed seven rebounds and dished out six assists.
“(Kananin) hit some absolute daggers tonight. So proud of him, as a senior, coming through for us,” Barbee said.
Whalen led the Patriots with 19 points, 13 coming in the second half. Causey added 16 points in the loss.
Liberty of Issaquah (21-7) led by 12 points at halftime and by as many as 24 in the fourth quarter before a late Sammamish rally.
Sophomore center Promise Taylor and Kelsey Brooks scored 13 points apiece for the Totems (15-12).
The win culminated an impressive district run for the Patriots, who won each of their four district tournament games by double digits.