It was a playoff win and one Timberline coach Allen Thomas and his team will gladly take.
But Thomas knows his Blazers will have to play better in the coming days to keep advancing in the 3A West Central District tournament.
Timberline, aided some by a poor shooting effort by Auburn Mountainview in the fourth quarter, pulled out a 53-40 win on Wednesday night in its opening game of district play at Franklin Pierce High School.
The Blazers advance to play Lakes, the top seed in the bracket, at 8 p.m. Friday at Franklin Pierce.
“A couple rebounds here, a couple of loose balls there, and we came out on top this time,” Thomas said. “We can’t play like that against Lakes and expect to come out on the winning end. It was a lesson learned. We know we have to come out of the gates a little stronger and execute our offense a bit better.”
The taller and more athletic team, Timberline (13-8) took advantage of its size inside, running out to a 29-20 halftime lead and eventually pushing it to 42-32 after three quarters.
With Gonzaga coach Mark Few watching from the stands, Blazers forward Donaven Dorsey gave the Blazers’ offense a lift when it needed it most. After turning the ball over in transition, Dorsey came back on the next possession and knocked down a 17-footer to push the lead to 47-36 with 5 minutes, 26 seconds remaining.
“It (was) a little sloppy, but we got the win nevertheless,” said Dorsey, who finished with a game-high 17 points.
With Dorsey and Elijah Sanders patrolling the paint and grabbing a majority of the rebounds, Auburn Mountainview scored just one basket from the field in the fourth quarter.
“We’re literally learning on the fly, and still getting better —which is scary,” Thomas said. “We still haven’t played that perfect game yet, which is what we strive for.”
Sanders finished with 11 points, while Brandell Evans added 10.
“Lakes is a scrappy team,” Dorsey said. “They like to get in you and pressure the ball. We have to make sure we handle the ball — we have to make smart plays.”
JJ Lacey’s 13 points paced Auburn Mountainview, which finished the season 13-10.