When the fourth quarter rolled around Saturday night in Tacoma, the Foss High School Falcons clicked into a different gear.
“We just put the pedal to the medal,” senior guard Micah Pollard said.
The Falcons, who entered the season with little varsity experience outside of Pollard, wrapped up the Class 2A SPSL title against visiting Franklin Pierce with a 83-64 win.
They spent much of the game cradling a one- or two-possession lead, until the fourth quarter, when they unloaded 30 points on the Cardinals to run away with the victory.
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“It’s a good milestone accomplishment to see where we’re at,” Pollard said. “We just need to keep getting better. We have a lot to work on, and we’ll be back at it next week.”
But, there was little to nitpick about the Falcons’ (16-7) performance against Franklin Pierce.
Pollard — who averages 30.6 points per game, and has passed 700 for the season — finished with a game-high 42 points, adding nine rebounds, six assists and a pair of blocks.
“He plays at both ends of the floor,” Franklin Pierce coach John Barbee said. “That’s waht makes him a good player. He’s just got that fight in him. He’s a competitive guy and he never gives up.
“At the beginning of the game, I don’t know that he took his first shot until four or five minutes into the game. They were trying to get other people involved. ... In the fourth quarter, he dribbled around everybody and made some tough shots, and was athletic and strong and smart. I think he’s the best player in Tacoma. And he shows it every night.”
Eloheim Johnson, a junior, complemented Pollard by pouring in a career-high 32 points — including five 3-pointers — and added seven boards.
“Elo stepped up really big tonight,” Pollard said. “I was like, ‘Wow.’ He had his first 30-piece today. I was proud of him. We told him to shoot the ball when you catch it and you’re open, and he shot it and made it. ... It really helped a lot.”
“It all (starts with) Micah because he has confidence in us, and he tells us the shots he takes and makes, we can make them, too,” Johnson said. “He’s been a good leader.”
And the rest of Foss’ role players locked down Franklin Pierce enough on defense, causing 17 turnovers and out-rebounding the Cardinals 28-22 to help the Falcons stay in front during the majority of the contest.
Foss jumped out to an early lead, and kept it most of the way, before its explosive final period, to hand the Cardinals just their second loss of the season — and certainly their biggest.
“This is the best we’ve played all year,” Pollard said. “Against that type of team, that’s pretty good.”
Claudell Quinland paced the Cardinals (21-2) with 24 points and had five boards, while Tannyr Thomas chipped in 19 points. But, it wasn’t enough to chase down the Falcons late.
“They just kept coming at us,” Barbee said. “Every time we got to that 10-11 mark, they would go on a five- or six-point run. We just couldn’t get over that hump.”
Pollard and Johnson combined for 29 of Foss’ 30 points in the final quarter to create a far wider gap than the 12 points Foss led by at the end of the third.
“We just kept pushing and pushing,” Johnson said. “Coach Josh (Barsh) said these last eight minutes are the most important, so we just kept going.”
Foss locked up the No. 1 overall seed into next week’s 2A West Central District tournament, while Franklin Pierce is the No. 3 seed behing Olympic League champion Port Angeles.
FP – Abraham Konan 9, John Barbee 2, Jalen Barbee 5, Tannyr Thomas 19, Toney Brown 2, Claudell Quinland 24, Jermaine Prunty 3.
F – Eloheim Johnson 32, Rashid Salahudin 2, Micah Pollard 42, Alex Glenn 3, De’Ante Hill 2, Isaiah Jackson 2.