'Those darn free throws' hold back Olympia in loss to Curtis

Vikings 64, Bears 49: Bad game at the lines - free throw and 3-point - puts Olympia in losers' bracket

March 4, 2011 

'Those darn free throws' hold back Olympia in loss to Curtis

Olympia's Marcus Raschkow, left, tries to pry the ball away from an upended Patrick Cooke of Curtis on Thursday. Curtis won, 64-49.

BY LUI KIT WONG/THE NEWS TRIBUNE — The Olympian

TACOMA - Luke Salme got the defense and rebounding he wanted Thursday.

But the Olympia coach didn’t get the offense he had hoped for, and the result was a 64-49 loss to Curtis in the quarterfinals of the boys Class 4A state basketball tournament.

Olympia went 6-for-19 from the free throw line, making 3-of-11 in the fourth quarter when the Vikings pulled away.

“They made their free throws. We missed ours,” Salme said. “Those darn free throws.”

Olympia also struggled from the 3-point line, going 1-for-14. But the Bears out-rebounded a taller Curtis team, 38-29, and held the Vikings to seven offensive rebounds.

“We weren’t giving them a lot of second chances,” Salme said. “We did a good job of screening them out. We just didn’t shoot well. We left too many points off the scoreboard.”

Olympia shot 40 percent from the field in the second half, going 10-for-25. But Curtis, bothered by the Bears’ hustling match-up zone defense, shot 31 percent (5-for-16) in the second half after shooting 48 percent (13-for-27) in the first half.

However, Curtis compensated by going 26-for-35 from the free throw line.

“We defended well enough throughout the game,” Salme said. “If we could have just gotten more out of our offense.”

Olympia (23-4) plays in a loser-out game at 9 a.m. today against Jackson, an 88-76 loser to Davis on Thursday morning. Olympia, winner of the 4A Narrows League, proved to be a bounce-back team all season long.

“We’ll be ready,” Olympia guard Jamey Smith said. “We’re thrilled to be here at state. A lot of people didn’t expect us to be here. But we’re not going to hang our heads. We’re going to play hard.”

Smith and Alex Weber-Brader led the Bears with 14 points each. Davonte Lacy, who accepted a basketball scholarship to Washington State, led Curtis with 17 points on 6-for-14 shooting. Darius Johnson-Wilson, a 6-foot-5, 280-pound forward, added 15.

Weber-Brader was checked by Lacy in the second half and was held to three points for the final two quarters.

“We wanted to hold him under 21 points,” Curtis coach Tim Kelly said. “We didn’t want him to beat us. On offense, we just kept working it, kept grounding it out.”

With both teams playing a deliberate, patient offense, Olympia pulled to within 30-27 on Marcus Raschkow’s free throw midway though the third quarter. But the Vikings finished the quarter with a 12-5 run to open a 42-32 lead.

Three minutes into the fourth quarter, Olympia pulled to within 47-42 on Raschkow’s two free throws. But the Vikings went on a 17-3 run, holding Olympia to one basket and a free throw for five minutes.

The Bears scored two baskets in the final 33 seconds, but it was too little, too late.

Curtis, now 22-5 and in the semifinals against Davis, pressured the Bears full court much of the game. Olympia finished with 16 turnovers and Curtis had just eight.

“They had a lot of pressure on the ball,” Smith said. “We couldn’t get into our offense. They were denying me the ball.”

To prepare for today’s game, Salme had his team watch game film of Jackson and have a shootaround Thursday afternoon.

“I know they’ll be ready to go,” Salme said. “That’s what they’ve done all year.”

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