LACEY -- Theres certainly things that the Timberline Blazers can take away from its 3A Narrows League contest with the top-ranked Lincoln Abes Friday night.
One of them is intensity on a consistent basis, say senior forward Elijah Sanders, much like the intensity the Blazers had, despite a 70-60 loss to the Abes.
We feel like we should play with that intensity against other teams, said Sanders, who finished with 12 points on 6 of 13 shooting. Theyre No. 1 in the state. we were right there.
Timberline had a chance to pull off the upset of the Abes at home, trailing by as few as two points in the fourth quarter and four points inside 4 minutes remaining in the game, but behind two 20-plus-point performances by two of Lincolns star players, the Abes held on for the win that was much closer than the final score showed.
The Blazers (8-6 overall, 3-4 3A Narrows) are now tied with Mount Tahoma for third place in the 3A Narrows while Lincoln remains perfect atop the league standings at 7-0 and 13-1 overall.
First-year Timberline coach Allen Thomas said his teams performance against the Abes was one of the best all season in terms of all-round effort.
We need that fight the last four or five games if we want to make the playoffs, Thomas said.
Timberline was on the brink of a upset, trailing by just two at 54-52 with 6 minutes, 51 seconds left in the game and then just four at 58-54 following a rebound and putback by Levi Lambert-Wilson, who finished with six points and nine rebounds, with 3:37 remaining.
However, that started a 2-minute scoring drought by the Blazers and a crucial possession for Lincoln down the stretch turned into three extra possessions because of three straight offensive rebounds.
Soon, Lincoln led 64-56 and Timberline was forced to foul. Lincoln hit six free throws inside the final 32 seconds.
Junior guard Ahmaad Rorie, a California commit, led all scorers with 24 points for the Abes, and senior forward TreShaun Fletcher, a Colorado signee, had 20. Donaven Dorsey led the Blazers with 18 points on 4 of 15 shooting, but was aggressive in attacking the basket and made 10 of 15 free throws. He was one of four Blazers to reach double figures, as Elijah Sanders had 12 points and Chase Ryan and Tyler Gartner had 11 points apiece.
With Lincoln known for its outside shooting, Timberlines zone forced Lincoln to shoot 17 3-pointers, but made eight. The Blazers used a lot of energy on making comebacks. They trailed by as many as 11 at 36-25 before making a 9-2 run in the final 3 minutes of the first half to pull within four at halftime at 38-34.
Another deficit and run came when they trailed by 10 at 48-38 with a pair of free throws by Rorie with 5:04 left in the third quarter, but when Blazers junior guard Tyler Gartner hit one of his three 3-pointers inside a minute left, the Lincoln lead was just three going into the fourth quarter.
Our execution wasnt there in crucial moments, Thomas said. We wasted a lot of energy fighting back.
Meg Wochnick: 360-754-5473