LACEY — Fifteen days of practice was enough for Donaven Dorsey and the Timberline Blazers.
While other South Sound basketball teams have played as many as four games already, Thursday’s non-league clash with River Ridge was the long-awaited season opener for the Blazers.
The contest against the Hawks couldn’t have come soon enough.
With a game-high 25 points coming from Dorsey, Timberline’s multitalented 6-foot-6 guard, the Blazers earned a 59-50 victory on the road over Ridge Ridge in front of a packed gymnasium.
The win was a homecoming gift for first-year Timberline coach Allen Thomas, a 1999 River Ridge graduate who played for Hawks coach John Barbee at The Evergreen State College in the early 2000s.
It was a typically erratic season opener, prone to spurts of turnovers and sloppy play, but a big 15-0 run in the second quarter gave Timberline a 29-17 lead at halftime. The Blazers held River Ridge to one field goal and three points in the second quarter.
“We felt we should’ve been a lot better,” said Dorsey, whose 8-for-18 shooting from the field included a monster breakaway dunk. “We had a lot of unforced turnovers and mental breakdowns. But I think we’re going to bounce back.”
Those deficiencies enabled the Hawks’ 6-0 run that pulled Timberline’s double-digit lead down to six at 29-23 to start the second half.
River Ridge senior Brad Wallace had an all-around performance with 19 points, eight rebounds and seven steals. He helped the Hawks close the gap to five down the stretch with a steal and lay-in and Wesley Coats’ jumper with 2 minutes, 26 seconds to go following the team forcing a 5-second violation on the inbounds play got the Hawks to 49-44. But Timberline’s extended zone held River Ridge to 4-for-27 shooting from 3-point range.
With Dorsey on the bench with his fourth foul at the 6:01 mark of the fourth, Timberline got big production from Elijah Sanders (12 points) and Levi Lambert-Wilson (seven) off the bench.
“We all came together and got the job done,” Dorsey said.
“Our bench came through and gave us the energy we needed,” Allen said. “This is a great win for our program.”Meg Wochnick: 360-754-5473 mwochnick@ theolympian.com theolympian.com/southsoundsports @megwochnick