“It was wide open, too,” first-year Timberline coach Allen Thomas said.
Point guard Brandall Evans simply lost the handle after taking the inbounds pass, and his desperation shot shortly before the buzzer was tipped by Lincoln’s Tre’Shaun Fletcher, preserving the Abes’ 52-51 win in Monday’s 3A West Central/Southwest bi-district boys title game at the ShoWare Center.
The Abes, winning their sixth bi-district title in team history, will be the bi-district’s No. 1 seed into Saturday’s 3A regional at Mount Tahoma High School, where they will face Columbia River (17-6) of Vancouver.
The Blazers, winners of eight of their previous nine games entering Monday’s title matchup, are the No. 2 seed and will face Mercer Island (15-8) at 4 p.m. Saturday in the regional, also at Mount Tahoma.
Winning district titles is nothing new for the Abes, who have now claimed bi-district titles in 2010 (Class 4A), 2011 and 2013.
“This is my third one in four years,” said Fletcher, who led Lincoln with 21 points. “I have to go out with a bang and get that state championship. That’s all that matters.”
Neither team led by more than six points, and it was a down-to-the-wire finish in the all-3A Narrows League title matchup. With the score tied at 51 with 18.7 seconds remaining, Fletcher nailed the first of two free throws. When he missed the second, Timberline took the rebound, raced upcourt, and called a timeout with 9.2 seconds to play.
Tyler Gartner inbounded the ball to Evans, and after a bobble, the backdoor play for Dorsey — who led all scorers with 25 points — had vanished. Evans tried to make a play himself, driving past the right elbow, but was met by Fletcher on his 12-foot jump shot attempt. Evans finished with 12 points.
It was Lincoln’s third victory over Timberline this season, after the 3A Narrows League champions swept the season series from the Blazers, 61-45 and 70-60.
For the red-hot Blazers (15-9), it was only their second loss in nine games. Still, Thomas said his team hasn’t played its best basketball of the season just yet.
“We’re dangerously close,” he said.
4A West Central/ Southwest Bi-DISTRICT
Yelm 52, Union 51: Anushka Maldonado’s 3-pointer with 27 seconds remaining broke a 49-all tie and proved to be the winner, giving the Tornados (20-4) the third seed from the West Central/Southwest bi-district into Friday’s regional.
Yelm will face Skyline at 8 p.m. at Puyallup’s Rogers High School.
Union, the fourth seed, will play Gonzaga Prep at 6 p.m. Friday at Rogers.Meg Wochnick: 360-754-5473 email@example.com @megwochnick www.theolympian.com/southsoundsports