LACEY — There are certainly lessons the Timberline Blazers can take away from its Narrows League 3A game with the top-ranked Lincoln Abes on Friday night.
One of them is intensity, says 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. “They’re No. 1 in the state. … We were right there.”
Timberline had a chance to pull off the upset of the visiting Abes, trailing by two points in the fourth quarter and four points inside of 4 minutes left. But behind high-scoring performances by two of Lincoln’s star players, the Abes held on.
The Blazers (8-5 overall, 3-3 Narrows 3A) are now tied with Mount Tahoma for third place in the league; Lincoln remains atop the standings at 6-0 and 12-1 overall.
First-year Timberline coach Allen Thomas said his team’s performance against the Abes was one of the best all season in terms of 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 54-52 with 6:51 left and then 58-54 following a rebound and put-back by Levi Lambert-Wilson, who finished with six points and nine rebounds, with 3:37 remaining.
But a two-minute scoring drought by the Blazers ensued, and a crucial possession for
Lincoln down the stretch turned into three extra possessions because of offensive rebounds.
Soon, Lincoln led 64-56 and Timberline was forced to foul. Lincoln converted six free throws in the final 32 seconds.
Junior guard Ahmaad Rorie, a California commit, led all scorers with 24 points for the Abes; senior forward Tre’Shaun Fletcher, who has committed to Colorado, added 20.
Donaven Dorsey led the Blazers with 18 points on 4-of-15 shooting. He was aggressive in attacking the basket and made 10 of 15 free throws. Dorsey was one of four Blazers to reach double figures, along with Elijah Sanders, who had 12 points, and Chase Ryan and Tyler Gartner, who scored 11 points apiece.
Timberline’s zone forced Lincoln to shoot 17 3-pointers, and the Abes made eight.
The Blazers 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 close to 38-34 at halftime.
Another deficit and run came when Timberline trailed 48-38 after 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 cut to three going into the fourth quarter.
“Our execution wasn’t there in crucial moments,” Thomas said. “We wasted a lot of energy fighting back.”Meg Wochnick: 360-754-5473 email@example.com theolympian.com/southsoundsports @megwochnick