They weren’t playing for everything Thursday night in Chick Rockey Gym, but they weren’t playing for nothing, either.
At stake in the battle between the home team, Olympia, and Timberline was the No. 2 Narrows League 4A seed to the West Central District boys basketball tournament next week. A Timberline victory, and the teams would meet Saturday in a playoff at a neutral site to figure it all out.
In the end, it took overtime to get it done. Timberline tied the game on a three-pointer by sophomore Erik Stevenson just before the regulation buzzer, but the Bears held on in the extra period for an 82-76 victory.
Olympia (17-3, 10-2 Narrows 4A) will host a home district game Feb. 10 against the South Puget Sound League’s No. 8 team. Timberline (12-7, 8-4) will play at the SPSL’s No. 6.
Olympia looked like it would avoid all the seeding suspense, scoring the last seven points of the first half to take a 14-point lead, its biggest to that point, then built the margin to 20 points early in the third quarter.
Timberline had other ideas. The Blazers clawed within six points with six minutes left in the game on a Stevenson three-pointer, then trimmed their deficit to five points, then four, then three, before Stevenson (22 points) finally tied the game.
“You’ve got to hand it to them,” Olympia coach John Kiley said of the Blazers. “You’ll never have ‘quitter’ and Coach (Allen) Thomas in the same sentence.
“They fought so hard … in our home.”
“Never,” said an exhausted Blazer senior, Jarryn Bush, who had 19 hard-earned points for Timberline. “You never want to lose.”
Olympia built a 53-33 lead on a triple by senior Eddie Beusch in the third quarter, but Timberline would outscore the Bears 38-18 in the rest of regulation.
Kiley said his team kept its composure even after Timberline came all the way back. Early foul trouble had the Bears playing “different people in different roles,” according to Kiley.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the guys for their toughness and resiliency tonight,” Kiley said.
The Blazers didn’t take advantage of a disparity in fouls in their favor, making only 16 of their 32 free throws.
Hunter Sipe, a junior forward, led Olympia with 20 points, including a three-pointer in the fourth quarter to keep Timberline temporarily at bay. Liam Murphy and David Woodward had 13 points apiece, and Beusch added 11.
Austin Curry supported Stevenson and Jarryn Bush with 13 points, and 6-foot-8 Jaelyn Bush contributed nine points.
Olympia 82, Timberline76 (OT)
Timberline15112124 5-- 76--
T: Curry 13, Rouse 6, Stevenson 22, Morton 5, Jaelyn Bush 9, Jarryn Bush 19, Alison 2.
O: Beusch 11, Wodward 13k, Sipe 20, Effland 3, Hernandez 5, Young 3, Murphy 13.