For a non-league game, Saturday’s boys basketball meeting between Wilson and Timberline had plenty of postseason implications.
Both programs advanced to the regional round of the state tournament last season — Timberline in Class 4A, Wilson in 3A — and both are primed to make similar runs this season.
The Rams held on to a narrow second-half lead to best the Blazers, 60-55, in the Sports Authority Showdown at Highline College.
“Two weeks ago, I remember my coach saying, ‘Timberline is going to tell us if we’re going to be ready for the season or not,’ ” Wilson senior David Jenkins Jr. said.
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So, are the Rams ready?
“Oh, yeah,” Jenkins Jr. said. “We’re a whole new team, and we’re building chemistry slowly. As soon as we build the full camaraderie, we’ll be really good. It’s just a process right now.”
Jenkins Jr. scored a game-high 27 points and pulled down seven rebounds. His 3-pointer midway through the second quarter gave the Rams a 21-20 lead.
“I think he’s done a great job maturing as a senior and stayed loyal to the program and I admire that in a young guy,” Timberline coach Allen Thomas said. “He’s just going to get better, and I’m glad it was non-league.”
Timberline never regained the lead after that point, and was 9 of 25 from the floor in the second half.
“We had times down the floor where we didn’t take care of the basketball, and at this level, on this stage, every possession counts,” Thomas said. “We’ve got to do a better job taking care of the ball and maximizing these possessions.”
The Blazers did see flickers of a late lead-change, tying it up three times in the second half.
Erik Stevenson scooped a pass from Austin Curry on a breakaway and slammed it home to make it 34-34 with 4 minutes, 40 seconds to play in the third.
Stevenson, a sophomore, led the Blazers with 19 points — and had 10 of Timberline’s 12 points in the third quarter.
But for every breakaway drive Timberline had, Wilson had an answer.
Curry, who added 11 points for the Blazers, swiped the ball with 2:03 remaining and tossed it to Eli Morton. Morton, a sophomore transfer from Wilson, converted the layup to tie the game at 55-55.
It was short-lived. Nate Fisher — who was 3 of 5 from the perimeter — sunk the eventual game-winning 3-pointer on the following possession.
“I knew I was going to get the double-team and triple-team,” Jenkins Jr. said. “I had to get my players open, and, luckily, my shooter made that clutch three.”
For the Blazers, Thomas said the loss is a good early-season test, and adds experience for next week’s meeting with Class 4A Narrows rival, Bellarmine Prep.
“I’d rather get the lesson now, than get the lesson come January,” Thomas said.
Timberline (3-1) hosts the Lions at 7 p.m. Wednesday, while Wilson (3-0) hosts Central Kitsap at 7 p.m. Wednesday.