The Timberline Blazers’ usual scoring triumvirate did its thing Wednesday, with Erik Stevenson, Tariq Romain and Eli Morton combined for 66 points in an 86-64 victory over Stadium in a first-round West Central/Southwest bi-district boys basketball game at North Thurston High School.
But it was the other thing the trio did — namely, defense — that earned coach Allen Thomas’ praises afterward.
“I didn’t like our defense early on,” Thomas said. “In the second half, we came out a little more focused, and Erik Stevenson, Eli Morton and Tariq Romain led the way.”
The Blazers (16-5) progress to a 7:45 p.m. game Friday in the Blazers’ own gym against Prairie, which defeated Peninsula Wednesday.
Stadium jumped out 11-6 to open the game, but the Blazers responded with a run of their own to close the period up 25-15 on a three-pointer before the buzzer by sophomore Hunter Campau. Stevenson had six of his 15 first-half points and Morton added four points to go with a steal and a pair of pinpoint assists in the closing run.
The active presence of 6-foot-5 senior Blake Wilcox, working much of the time against 6-8 Jaelen Bush of Timberline, kept the Tigers in striking distance in the second quarter. Wilcox had eight of his 12 first-half points in the period and sophomore teammate Davion Gaines had seven points as the Tigers pulled within 45-38 at halftime.
Stevenson, the Blazers’ leading scorer, flushed breakaway dunks on consecutive trips as Timberline broke away in the third quarter, which ended with the Blazers up 68-49.
Stevenson led all scorers with 27 points. Romain scored 20 and Morton added 19.
“Defense creates offense,” Thomas said afterward. “We like to play hard, smart and together.”
Wilcox led the Tigers with 18 points. Stadium (9-12) takes on Peninsula at North Thurston on Friday in a loser-out game.
Life Christian 80, Rainier 40: In their 35th home win in a row — a streak stretching 3 1/2 years — the Eagles secured a decisive win over the Mountaineers.
“We came out with a great first quarter,” said Life Christian Coach Mark Lovelady. “Luke (Lovelady) had seven that quarter.”
Lovelady not only scored a game high 18 points, he also got his 1000th career rebound.
However, after that strong 23-point first quarter for the Eagles, the Life Christian team let the Mountaineers climb their way back into the game.
“The 2nd quarter was a little flat,” observed Lovelady. “We just can’t take any lapses when we build a lead.”
The team rallied back, scoring a monstrous 27 points in the third quarter to put them squarely back in the driver’s seat.
“Really in the third quarter everything clicked,” said Lovelady. “Overgaard hit 3 3’s.”
After rallying his team, Eric Overgaard went on to score 17 points to close out the game for the Eagles.
At Camas 51, Olympia 35: Amelia Ack had a game-high 15 points for the Bears, who now face Auburn Mountainview in a loser-out game of the 4A West Central/Southwest bi-district tournament at 6 p.m. Friday at Rogers High School.
The Bears (11-10) pulled within 30-24 on a 3-point play by Ack with 3 minutes, 17 seconds left in the third quarter, but Camas (14-6) quickly made it an 11-point lead by the end of the quarter. Olympia got no closer.
Bears coach Jackie Robinson called that the game changer.
“It went from six to 11 just like that,” he said.
Camas, led by 12 points apiece by Madison Freemon and Emma Jones, advances to Friday’s quarterfinal where it faces Rogers, a 63-29 winner over Auburn Mountainview.
Chase Hutchinson and Meg Wochnick contributed to this report.
Timberline 86, Stadium 64
S: Smith 15, Hughes 8, Gaines 11, Hillis 5, Ferguson 4, Gibson 3, Wilcox 18
T: Romain 20, Campau 3, Morton 19, Stevenson 27, Faalogo 5, Bush 5, Thompson 2, Melad 4, Wike 1.