Slow starts to open games have been a problem for Emerald Ridge all season, and on the road, it’s been an even bigger issue for the Jaguars.
They fell from first-place two weeks ago to a share of second-place in the 4A South Puget Sound League with Bellarmine Prep after Thursday night’s double-digit loss, 63-53, in Tacoma.
“This league’s tough to play on the road. …we were beat by some good teams, but we don’t come ready to play on the road,” said Emerald Ridge coach Pat Mullen after the Jaguars closed out the regular season with three losses in their past four games.
“I don’t know why, but these kids need to figure it out. And the coaches have to figure that out, too.”
Now Emerald Ridge (13-7, 12-4) is tied with Bellarmine Prep (13-7, 12-4) for the 4A SPSL’s No. 2 seed and Curtis clinched the title outright — which is Curtis’ third consecutive league title and its 10th league title in the past 12 years.
Both teams’ coaches said they are still figuring out whether to decide to use a coin-flip or a playoff game to determine who will be the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds out of the league.
“Right now we’re just going to enjoy the win,” said Bellarmine coach Bernie Salazar as a playoff game would played on Saturday at Sumner High. “(But) I’m going to do what’s best for the team.”
“I (think) we’re going to end up and play,” Mullen said.
Christian Moore’s hot-hand carried the Lions to a 14 point halftime lead, 35-21.
Moore (10-for-13) finished the finished the first-half shooting 8-for-9 from the field for 19 points, with his lone miss coming on a last second shot to end the half. He finished with 21 points.
“Before the game, I told myself that no one going to stop me,” said Moore who added seven rebounds to his final stats. “I was going to play to the best of my ability, and I was going to go Rambo.”
As Moore, the Central Washington-bound quarterback, cooled down in the second half, Joey Bodoia heated up as he ended with a game-high 23 points.
“He’s (Moore) crucial for us in getting boards, but once he goes off on offense, it just makes us that much better,” said Bodoia who finished shooting 10-for-15 from the field on the night.
Bellarmine was able to jump out to a 17-point lead, 50-33, with 1:35 remaining in the third before Emerald Ridge attempted a comeback.
“They (Moore and Bodoia) are both very good players, and good leaders,” Salazar said. “You always want to have a good night on senior night.”
With 37.5 seconds left in the third, Daniel Gregory drew a foul on a 3-point attempt, but the Jaguar guard landed awkwardly and rolled his left-ankle, taking one of Emerald Ridge’s top shooters out of the game.
Jason Cassens, who scored 11 points, closed out the quarter, 50-37, connecting on all three of Gregory’s free-throws.
Emerald Ridge was able to close the gap to six, 55-49, with 3:51 left in the game after Chase McGuire hit a three from the wing, but after that bucket, Bodoia connected on back-to-back baskets as the Lions close out the win.
“It was the last home game of my senior season, and I’m just happy we got the win,” Bodoia said.
ER: Benjamin 9, Gregory 3, Boston 8, Chase 11, Pfeifer, McClain 10, Stallcop, Cassens 11, Goodspeed 1
BP: Elzie 9, Bodoia 23, Price 1, Scott 9, Moore 21, Horner, Doxon, Okoye, Ostrander