Austin Parker’s powerful dunk in the third quarter off of Erik Stevenson’s alley-oop pass brought the student section to its feet.
But it was the Timberline senior’s botched dunk a quarter eariler that best sums up his team’s efforts as they captured their first league basketball championship in more than a decade Tuesday with an 80-71 victory over visiting Stadium in a 4A Narrows League boys basketball game.
Late in the second quarter, Parker’s attempted throw down caught the front of the rim and ricocheted back out.
He secured the rebound from two Stadium players and went back up, only to miss again.
A second offensive rebound followed and despite having two Tigers challenge his shot, Parker finally delivered.
“Relentless,” Timberline coach Allen Thomas said. “That’s how we needed to play tonight in order to win. We were down 10, 12 points? Keep fighting.”
Parker scored 17 points and Brandell Evans added a team-high 25 for the Blazers.
“There was no quit in this team,” Parker said. “We couldn’t give up. Everyone has worked so hard for this moment.”
Timberline (8-3 Narrows) trailed by as many as 12 points in the game before rallying. The Blazers host Olympia on Thursday, but already have the league crown locked up.
Stadium and Gig Harbor, both with 7-4 league records, also play Thursday, but neither can overtake the Blazers atop of the standings regardless of the outcomes as Timberline holds the tie breaker after sweeping both schools during the regular season.
“I think we had a lot of doubters coming into the season,” said Evans a four-year starter. “We lost Donaven (Dorsey), but I think that made us play more as a team this year. We all had to contribute instead of just standing around waiting for Donaven to dominate.”
Dorsey, a former all-state selection who is a freshman on the University of Washington’s basketball team, guided the Blazers to back-to-back Class 3A state playoff appearances during his final two seasons, but could never capture a league title in high school — a feat Evans, Parker and their teammates have accomplished, becoming the first Timberline squad to do so since 2004 when the Blazers won the Class 3A Pac 9.
Bobby Moorehead’s 35 points led Stadium (9-9, 7-4).
“He’s probably the league’s MVP,” Thomas said about Moorehead, who hit five 3-pointers. “He just took over the game at times.”
Timberline trailed 37-35 at the half and missed their first six shots in the second half before making seven in a row from the field during a game-deciding 16-3 run, which Jarryn Bush ended with a dunk to push the Blazers lead to 51-43.
The advantage ballooned to 67-57 as Evans took control on the offensive end for Timberline, scoring 13 points in the fourth quarter.
Stadium looked for the early knockoug, using a 16-0 run, highlighted by a pair of Moorehead 3-pointers, to post a 21-9 lead with 11/2 minutes to play in the first quarter.
A dunk by Moorehead off a steal kept it a double-digit lead at 28-18 early in the second quarter, but instead of sparking the Tigers, the play breathed some much needed life back into the Blazers, who got back into the contest with a 13-0 run of their own.
A 3-pointer from Stevenson capped the run, giving Timberline a 31-28 edge.
A pair of Moorehead free throws stopped the bleeding for Stadium before the Blazers tacked on two more quick baskets to post their largest lead of the half at 35-30.
A handful of free throws from Moorehead, who scored 19 points in the first half, helped the Tigers close out the second quarter on a 7-0 run to take a slim 37-35 lead into the break.
Bush and Taylor Adams both scored 12 points for Timberline, while Londrell Hamilton and Robbie Bernovich each added 12 points for Stadium.