For those wondering if Foss High School has cooled off since winning a Class 2A state title last March, here’s the answer — the second-ranked Falcons haven’t, they’re just as hot.
Despite losing their second game of the season Friday night University Place to O’Dea, the No. 4 team in 3A, the Falcons controlled the tempo most of the way.
Micah Pollard scored a game-high 28 points to pace Foss before the Fighting Irish slipped away late with a 69-66 win in the Curtis Winter Classic semifinals.
“In fall league, we couldn’t compete with them, but now you see (we can),” Pollard said. “I just want to show everybody that it doesn’t matter we’re in 2A, we can still compete with all of the top dogs.”
The Falcons jumped out to an early lead, aided by Pollard’s 17 points in the first quarter, and built to a 37-27 lead at the half.
Foss coach Mike Cocke’ said Pollard is a big reason the Falcons — who graduated two scoring threats in reigning TNT All-Area player of the year Roberto Gittens and forward Donald Scott — haven’t missed a beat.
“He’s making the most of his opportunity,” Cocke’ said of Pollard. “The stuff he did in the first half of the game tonight is the stuff he does everyday in practice.
“He’s a perfectionist and he works hard. When he plays like that we’re pretty good.”
Foss’ scrappy defense led to several baskets in transition, helping the Falcons hold O’Dea off until midway through the third quarter.
But, the Irish opened the second half on a 15-4 run to take the lead with 3:28 remaining in the third, while Foss missed eight of its first 10 attempts to open the half.
“They switched defenses, and we struggled to execute against their defense,” Cocke’ said. “We’re better than that.
“Instead of pushing the lead, we allowed them to hang around, and they did a good job in the second half of getting inside and just exploiting us in certain areas.”
Pollard contained Division I recruit Noah Williams for much of the contest, holding the junior to 11 points, but O’Dea found other ways to score.
Paolo Banchero scored a team-high 19 points — mostly in the paint — and gave the Irish the final lead on a pair of free throws with 1:36 to play.
Cal Hansen chipped in another 12 points for O’Dea, while Tommy McAloon added 10.
Demetrius Crosby scored 18 points for the Falcons, while Damani Kelly had eight.
Foss had some late scoring opportunities with a minute to go, and the Irish holding on to a slim lead, but couldn’t convert.
Following two sets of O’Dea free throws with 2.7 seconds to play, Crosby hurled an in-bounds pass to Pollard, who pulled up for a contested 3-pointer, but it bounced off the backboard as time expired.
“I was proud of their effort tonight,” Cocke’ said. “It was a tough one to see them lose because I thought the deserved to win for about three-and-a-half quarters.
“Then we got outplayed for about four minutes, and that cost us.”
Foss’ loss Friday night snapped a six-game winning streak. The Falcons’ only other loss this season was to city rival Lincoln on Dec. 1.
Foss (7-2) plays Camas (8-1) in a consolation game at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at Curtis. O’Dea (6-1) plays Stanwood (5-4) in the tournament championship at 7 p.m.
Marysville-Pilchuck 69, No. 7 Timberline 49: The Blazers dropped their second loss of the tournament — and third of the season — following a rough shooting night.
Timberline (6-3) finished 17 of 52 shooting (32.7 percent) and never regained a lead after losing it early in the second quarter.
Wichita State signee Erik Stevenson finished with a team-high 16 points, while Casson Rouse added 11.
Luke Dobler led all scorers for the Tomahawks with 20, while RaeQuann Battle had 19 and Aaron Kalab finished with 10.
Timberline (6-3) plays Curtis (7-2) in a consolation game at 2:30 p.m. Saturday. Marysville-Pilchuck (8-1) plays Central Valley (3-5) at 4 p.m.
Central Valley 59, No. 6 Curtis 48: Zachary Stocker scored seven points to open the final quarter, and gave the Bears a lead they never lost with more than five minutes remaining.
He scored a game-high 25 points — including seven 3-pointers — to lift Central Valley to a win.
The Vikings never cut the lead to less than six points after Stocker connected from the perimeter for the final time late in the fourth.
Jase Paulsen led Curtis with 18 points. All six of his baskets were 3-pointers.
Stanwood 49, Camas 34: The Spartans controlled the game most of the way in a tournament semfinal, handing the Papermakers their first loss of the season.
Camas, which was held to a season-low in scoring, never put up more than nine points in a quarter.
Nate Kummer led Stanwood with a game-high 18 points, while Mitch Jones and Matt Vail each added nine.
No Camas player finished in double digits. Isaiah Sampson had eight points to lead the Papermakers.
NO. 2 (2A) FOSS
NO. 4 (4A) O’DEA
F – Crosby 18, Pollard 28, Kelly 8, Glenn-Leufroy 2, Massey 5, Barnes 5
O – McAloon 10, Williams 11, Mosley 2, Whealdon 2, Davis 8, Christofolis 5, Hansen 12, Banchero 19
NO. 7 (3A) TIMBERLINE
MP – Dobler 20, Battle 19, Kalab 10, Sims 5, Mongar 2, Jones-Smith 2, Bauman 8, Severn 3
T – Campau 4, Lacy 2, Stevenson 16, Warick 2, Rouse 11, Hicks 4, Melad 8, Lyall 2
NO. 6 (4A) CURTIS
CV – Stocker 25, Simmons 8, Edwards 4, Wilson 2, Hannan 6, Clay 6, Johnson 8
C – Z. Paulsen 7, Parker 4, Franklin 3, J. Paulsen 18, Simms 8, McGinnis 5, Lewis 3
C – Glikbarg 6, Jamison 2, Bonine 3, Cooke 6, Mukobi 2, Sampson 8, Carlisle 7
S – Jones 9, Bickford 3, Vail 9, Austin 5, Kummer 18, Deboer 5