Life Christian’s Omari Maulana breaks down 2B state quarterfinals win over Lake Roosevelt
Life Christian Academy wants to be playing Saturday night in the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena.
The seventh-seeded Eagles wasted no time showing that Thursday, as they jumped to a 12-0 lead and toppled eighth-seeded Lake Roosevelt, 64-44, in the Class 2B state quarterfinals.
Sophomore Omari Maulana scored 18 points and hauled in 17 rebounds, and the lightning-quick Eagles used a stout defense to find easy buckets on the other end all afternoon.
Senior Noah Robinson added 14 points and senior Te’jhan Potts-Woods finished with 11.
“You got to hit first,” Maulana said. “In any game, you got to come out the strongest. That’s what we did. We came out with the most effort.”
After a 12-0 run was answered by a seven-point Lake Roosevelt burst, it was all Life Christian. The Eagles led 17-12 after the first quarter and stretched that to 37-17 by the half.
“It’s been a defensive mindset the entire time,” coach Charles Simmons said. “We wanted to get off to a good start, but we wanted our defense to be our offense.”
That defense, Simmons said, relies on having strong-side help and LCA was near perfect at that on Thursday.
After falling to Brewster last year in the opening round, the Eagles were eager to make sure the same fate didn’t await this time around. With a new coach — longtime coach Mark Lovelady took an administrator job in Arizona — the Eagles brought a new brand of basketball and some new faces.
Derek Wallace Jr. was a late addition this season, after getting approval for his transfer from Wilson. He had four assists. Bradley Swillie came in from Tacoma Baptist. He had eight points and eight rebounds.
“That’s our identity. That’s how we’ve played all year,” Simmons said. “We don’t want to get away from that. We’re going to continue to play Life Christian basketball and that’s what you saw today.”
The Eagles showed what that new look — one of unmatched athleticism in an offense that runs like a bullet train — can do. And they showed it to the other three 2B teams remaining in the winner’s bracket that they came to play.
That starts with third-seeded Saint George’s, the Eagles’ semifinals opponent at 5:30 p.m. Friday.
“I don’t think they can keep up with us athletically,” Maulana said. “I don’t think they can keep up with us skill-wise. They’re a good team. But we’re a better team and we’re going to go out there and prove it.”
CLASS 2A BOYS
No. 13 Renton 56, No. 3 North Kitsap 51: Damarco Williams scored a game-high 24 points as the Indians (21-8) upset North Kitsap in the Yakima Valley SunDome to advance to the state semifinals for the first time since 2013.
O’Shae Barquet added 16 points for Renton, while Terrance Meneese pulled down 12 rebounds.
Jonas La Tour led North Kitsap with 14 points.
Renton will play No. 7 Selah at 5:30 p.m. Friday in the semifinals. The Indians last won a semifinals game in 1967, when they won their most recent state title.
No. 7 Selah 72, No. 9 Fife 59: The Trojans roared back from a 19-point halftime deficit to take a lead in the fourth quarter before falling in the quarterfinals at the Yakima Valley SunDome.
Fife tallied 28 third-quarter points, then took two leads — the last at 57-56 on Gannon Gillis’ jumper with 6:47 to go.
But, Shed Smith answered with a 3-pointer for the Vikings, who closed the final six minutes on a 16-2 run.
UC Davis commit Elijah Pepper led Selah with 20 points, nine coming in the first quarter. Bryson Williams led the Trojans with 19 points, including four 3-pointers.
Fife will play North Kitsap in a loser-out game Friday at 10:30 a.m.
CLASS 2A GIRLS
No. 4 White River 60, No. 6 Port Angeles 55: The Hornets climbed back from a deficit that reached 16 points with less than seven minutes to play Thursday afternoon at the Yakima Valley SunDome to reach the state semifinals for the fourth time in program history.
“It was something else,” said longtime coach Chris Gibson, who also took White River to the semifinals in 1999, 2000 and 2012. “We came back and got it.”
Gibson said, despite allowing Port Angeles — which routed the Hornets, 53-32, in the 2A West Central District title game earlier this month — to erase their two-point halftime lead and pull away late, the Hornets never stopped attacking.
“I give my kids so much credit,” Gibson said. “They just kept working hard. We were attacking, we knocked down some 3’s, we were shooting well form the free throw line.
“I was so proud of my kids for never giving up. ... We’ve got three seniors that are really good glue for us, but we’re pretty young. We had young kids come off of the bench and do amazing things.”
The Hornets play the East Valley of Spokane-Lynden winner at 7:15 p.m. Friday in the semifinals.
White River has never reached a championship game in its long history — which includes 21 tournament trips since 1983.
CLASS 1A GIRLS
No. 4 Cashmere 62, No. 6 Annie Wright 41: Five-star point guard Hailey Van Lith poured in a game-high 29 points, and pulled down 11 rebounds, as the Bulldogs routed the Gators at the Yakima Valley SunDome.
Annie Wright sophomore Julianna Walker scored a team-high 21 points, while freshman Jazmyn Stone added 13.
Annie Wright (21-4), which is making its first state tournament appearance in school history, will play 1B SeaTac rival Bellevue Christian in a loser-out consolation game at 9 a.m. Friday.
CLASS 1B BOYS
No. 5 Muckleshoot Tribal 67, No. 11 Riverside Christian 56: The Kings (23-3) pulled away with a 20-point fourth quarter at the Spokane Arena to advance to the state semifinals for the first time in program history.
Kash Nichols scored a team-high 20 points for Muckelshoot Tribal, while Kobe Courville added 17, and Darius Nichols had 12.
Ryan Thompson completed a double-double with 13 points and 10 assists.
Levi Rivera led all scorers with 21 points for Riverside Christian (18-5).
The Kings play No. 1 Sunnyside Christian at 7:15 p.m. Friday in the semifinals.
CLASS 1B GIRLS
No. 2 Pomeroy 65, No. 8 Concordia Christian 25: Pomeroy opened the game with a 22-5 first quarter, and held the Hawks to single digits in each period to pull away in the quarterfinals at the Spokane Arena.
Emma Severs led all scorers with 22 points for Pomeroy, while Sydney Smith had 11.
No scorer reach double figures for Concordia Christian.
The Hawks will meet Mount Vernon Christian at 10:30 a.m. Friday in a loser-out consolation game.
Staff writer Lauren Smith and contributing writer Todd Milles contributed to this report.
NO. 8 LAKE ROOSEVELT
NO. 7 LIFE CHRISTIAN
LR – Shooting: 17 of 60 (28.3 percent). Free throws: 3 of 7 (42.9). Turnovers: 11.
LC – Shooting: 25 of 55 (45.5 percent). Free throws: 4 of 19 (21.1). Turnovers: 14.
LR – Cameron St. Pierre 4, Hunter Whitelaw 1, Trevor McCraigie 16, Sam Wapato 4, Soarin Marchand 3, Jonathan Cante 8, Kyle Edmo 2, C.J. Saxson 3, Jerald Boyd 2.
LC – Derek Wallace Jr. 3, Omari Maulana 18, Noah Robinson 14, Te’jhan Potts-Woods 11, Da’Shaun Nichols 8, Jacoby Novotny 2.