Washington watched its dream season slip away as Sehome sophomore Marcus Montag hit four straight free throws in the last 20 seconds to seal a 67-60 victory in a 2A boys basketball regional contest Friday night.
“There were a lot of sad faces (in the locker room),” senior Tory Causey said. “We played hard, we just couldn’t pull it out the last few minutes there.”
Causey was instrumental in Washington’s success this season, averaging 14.2 points per game — he finished tied for a team-high with 12 points Friday night. Freshman Willie Thomas also scored 12 (11 in the second half), while senior Chandler Whalen and junior Kaleb Whitemarsh each added 10.
The teams traded the lead four times and were tied eight times during the contest, including being knotted up at 19 at the end of the first quarter and 49 at the end of the third. Sehome shot 42.9 percent from the field, Washington shot 40.7. Sehome made eight 3-pointers, Washington made six. Nearly every statistical category was evenly matched.
What made the difference?
“Defense,” Causey said.
The rebounds ultimately made the difference — Sehome came down with 41 boards, including 10 offensively, to Washington’s 31.
“It was a coin flip to who would make it through,” Washington coach Karl Cordes said. “They outrebounded us, and that’s what did it.”
Sehome broke the deadlock with 1:11 remaining, as Montag drilled a 3-pointer to put the Mariners up 63-60. Causey attempted to match the 3-pointer but his effort rimmed out, forcing the Patriots to foul. Causey missed another 3-pointer, and Montag returned to the line to ice the game with two more freebies. He scored 17 for the Mariners, while junior Leighton Kingma led with 20.
“It would have really hurt to fall one game short,” Sehome coach AJ Labree said.
Washington, a team that hasn’t had a winning season since 2001, concurs with that one.
“I think we’re all feeling a sense of relief right now, and these guys are where they want to be,” Labree said of his Mariners.
Sehome advances to the quarterfinals of the 2015 2A Boys Hardwood Classic state tournament, which begins March 5 at the Yakima Valley SunDome.