The Clover Park High School boys basketball team came into the regional round of state playoffs having played four overtime games in its last three weeks of the season — and won them all.
Those wins definitely bolstered the Warriors’ confidence coming in. But the fatigue of playing all that extra time caught up to them.
Clover Park lost to Mountlake Terrace High School 60-52 on Saturday at Mount Tahoma in a loser-out state regional game.
“These kids accomplished an awful lot with only two seniors on the roster,” said Clover Park coach Mel Ninnis. “They did get wore out in the end, but (Mountlake Terrace) played the same amount we did.”
The Warriors led 31-26 at halftime, and came out in the second half making a few shots to keep their lead. But midway through the third quarter, their energy started to fade.
“I think if we had more energy, I think we could have won,” senior guard D.J. Kerson said. “It was more of everybody having their head down and being mad at each other. Nobody was bringing each other up. I think that’s what got us.”
Kerson would finish the game scoring seven points. He would be the second highest scorer for the Warriors, behind Davien Harris-Williams’ 25 points.
The turning point for the Warriors was when they could not grab defensive rebounds, causing Mountlake Terrace to get second chance points.
“We missed the block when they had a one-and-one and they got the ball back when it was a four-point game,” Ninnis said. “Then a couple possessions later, they kept grabbing offensive rebounds. I felt that was a very controlling moment for this game.”
The Warriors were also done in by allowing three Hawks to reach double digits, including Sean Kirk grabbing 17 points and Brock Davis 16 points.
“Once we lost the lead, everyone started to talk down to each other,” Kerson said. “I think if we could have just kept our heads up in the last couple of minutes, we could have won.”
Within the final minute of the game, the Warriors were as close as four points. But turnovers slowly killed Clover Park as too many times, the ball went out of bounds when they needed to make a play particularly due to Harris-Williams’ fatigue.
“I don’t have to worry him. He’s got a very short memory when it comes to making mistakes on the court,” Ninnis said.
With the loss, Clover Park’s season has ended. But the Warriors plan to return all but two players from their current roster.
“It has been a great season,” Kerson said. “Next year, if everyone stays here and plays together, they should be good. We have a lot of young talent.”
Federal Way 70, Kentwood 61: The Conquerors had already beaten the Eagles twice this season, but the third time proved to be the charm for Federal Way.
The Eagles’ press had an impact on Kentwood early in the game as the Federal Way led 37-19 at halftime. The Conquerors would regroup, outscoring the Eagles 26-16 in the third quarter, cutting the lead to four.
The Federal Way offense stepped up late, securing the win.
“It feels great,” Eagles head coach Jerome Collins said. “I am proud of the team. It’s been our motto to take it one quarter, half, game at a time, we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves. We played Federal Way basketball. we pressed, we ran, they did a great job tonight.”
Rashon Slaughter was big for the Eagles. He had a game-high 22 points. Federal Way’s Malcolm Cola finished the night with a double-double — 11 points and 15 rebounds. He added five blocks to his total.
Federal Way earned a first-round bye at the Tacoma Dome this week. They play on Thursday at 9 a.m. against the winner of Richland-Davis.
Union 75, Enumclaw 50: The Hornets didn’t need to beat the second-ranked Titans. Just learn from them.
Enumclaw will still head to the Tacoma Dome despite the loss thanks to being in the top eight of the WIAA’s 4A RPI rankings.
“We’re OK being under the radar,” Enumclaw coach Terry Johnson said.
Cameron Cranston, the 6-foot-6 left-hander, led Union with 28 points. Enumclaw trailed 19-16 after the first quarter but was outscored 39-22 the next two periods.
“We knew Union was a great team,” Johnson said. “They are experienced, well coached, they can really, really shoot the ball and Cameron Cranston is as good as any player in the state.”
Curtis 72, Davis 61: Sindou Diallo scored 26 points as the sixth-ranked Vikings earned a bye to the 4A state quarterfinals with the win over the fifth-ranked Pirates at Central Washington University.
Curtis will face the winner of Kentwood-Bellarmine Prep at 12:15 p.m. Thursday in the Tacoma Dome.
West Seattle 60, Timberline 38: Momentum dictates the outcome of basketball games, a hard fact the Blazers learned at Bellevue College.
West Seattle cruised in the 3A regional game. The Blazers (18-7) will play Seattle Prep (18-8) at 3:45 p.m. on Wednesday while West Seattle (20-6) draws a first-round bye.
Nate Pryor, a Seattle University commit, led the game with 21 points while Abdullah Mohamed added 12 and Yusuf Mohamed 10 for the Wildcats. Timberline was led by Erik Stevenson’s 10 points. Romain and Jalen Bush each added nine and earned praise from Thomas.
King’s Way Christian 53, Vashon Island 40: This was not the same team that Pirates coach Andy Sears had seen the last month of the season.
Two big runs from King’s Way Christian ended Vashon’s season in the regional round of the 1A state basketball tournament.
“Just two really, really poor stretches,” Sears said. “The easy baskets were really killer tonight.”
That negated the 17 points from Casper Forest, who was one of the few key contributors returning from last year’s Vashon team, which lost four of its top five scorers from a year ago. Yet the Pirates still reached the state tournament for the fourth consecutive season.
“We played really good basketball at times and got some awesome wins,” Sears said. “We’ll look back and be proud of what we put into the season and what we got out of it. This stinks right now, but we’ll look back and be proud.”
Life Christian 64, No. 6 Adna 36: The top-ranked Eagles (25-1) remained on track to capture the program’s first state title, routing sixth-ranked Adna (20-6) on Saturday afternoon at Saint Martin's University in Lacey.
“I feel like we’ve got a good shot this year,” Life Christian coach Mark Lovelady said. “All around — offensively, defensively, team chemistry — we have a good group of kids this year that could win a state title."
The senior-heavy Eagles took fourth at the 2B state tournament in Spokane last year, and still look plenty dominant. Life Christian has put up 1,912 points this season — 73.5 per game — while opponents average 47.
The Eagles continued to dazzle Saturday, holding Adna to 17 points in the first half, and five in the third quarter as they pulled away.
“I feel like the difference tonight was definitely our defense. ... I felt like defensively we were on fire,” Lovelady said.
Luke Lovelady scored a game-high 15 points for Life Christian, while Eric Overgaard had 12 and Anthony Kunitsa had 10.
The Eagles secured a first-round bye in Spokane with the win. They play the winner of ninth-ranked Chief Leschi (21-6) and Toledo (19-6) at 2 p.m. Thursday.
“That first-round bye is huge because you’re not having to play at 10:30 a.m. game on Wednesday,” Mark Lovelady said. “You can go over, get a chance to scout, and get a chance to let the kids soak the experience in. It’s huge.”
Chief Leschi 65, Orcas Island 60: With their lone senior out with an ankle injury, the Warriors got a big lift from one of their other leaders.
The starting quarterback of the football team — Kahea Baker.
Baker’s pressure defense and three key steals in the second half, plus his right-side 3-pointer with 1:23 remaining triggered the Warriors past the Vikings, and into the state tournament for the first time since 2010.
After Floyd Sharp drove just enough into the lane to draw defenders, he kicked it to Baker just behind him, who canned the long-range shot to give Chief Leschi a 61-56 lead.
“It only makes sense for me to demand that he is a leader and set the example,” Warriors coach Scott Halasz said. “He is our source for mental toughness.”
Ecko Augkhopinee made two baskets in the final 1:01 to put away Orcas Island (15-3), which had won six games in a row.
Chief Leschi (21-6) led 20-9 early, but point guard Yahola Gower went down grabbing his leg with 4:37 remaining in the first half. He never returned.
The Vikings led 40-35 before two Baker steals led to six consecutive points late in the third quarter.
“They’ve handled adversity over and over again,” Halasz said.
Chief Leschi made nine of 20 field goals in the fourth quarter.
Tacoma Baptist 58, Entiat 42: PJ Talen went off for 37 points and for the first time since 2005, the Crusaders are headed to Spokane to compete in the state tournament.
Talen’s monster game came from all over the floor. He did it from 3, he knocked down pull-up jump shots and attacked the rim. He made all five of his free throw attempts.
“He was a machine,” Tacoma Baptist coach Rich Hamlin. “They could not stop him. This isn’t abnormal for him. He’s had games like this before, but this being a (loser-out) regional made it bigger.”
Tacoma Baptist plays fellow Seatac League member Muckleshoot Tribal at 3:45 p.m Wednesday in the first round of the 1B state tournament at Spokane Arena.
Staff contributed to this report