The No. 2-ranked Renton Indians, an opponent with speed and athleticism similar to the Hawks, did everything in their power to slow River Ridge’s offense. And it started with containing one of the state’s top players: senior guard Brad Wallace.
Renton accomplished that, and ended River Ridge’s season in the process with a 73-57 victory over the Hawks on Saturday night in the 2A boys regional game at Tumwater High School.
The Indians (23-2) advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2A state tournament next week at the Yakima SunDome. The Hawks (17-7) saw their 14-game winning streak end, and their season end at the same spot it did a season ago.
River Ridge didn’t have an answer for Jonathan Patterson, the Seamount League’s MVP, and Lavelle Smith, who combined for 35 points and 21 rebounds. Patterson had 14 of his game-high 20 points in the first half, getting all of his buckets from 5 feet
and in, as Renton took a 39-34 halftime lead in the fast-paced game.
Renton’s scrappiness led to put-backs and extra possessions off loose balls. Its defense swarmed Wallace at every opportunity with two – and, at times, three players – surrounding him. In spite of the Hawks trying to set screens for Wallace to get him free, he had trouble getting good looks at the basket. The result was 4-for-17 shooting for a team-high 14 points, far below his 28 points-per-game average.
“That’s good coaching (by Renton), and that also shows a lot of respect for a good player,” Barbee said. “Nothing was easy.”
After six points in the first quarter, Wallace went without a field goal in the second and third quarters while Renton’s lead ballooned to 57-41 inside a minute to go in the third quarter. His 3-pointer on the Hawks’ first possession of the fourth snapped his scoreless drought and cut the deficit to 57-47 with 7:48 to play.
The Hawks got as close as 62-55 with 2:41 remaining after a bucket by Wesley Coats, who finished with 12 points, but a much-needed final push never happened. Jonathan Roberts had eight points, and three players – Austin Parker, Kesean Coleman and Carson Prince – helped pick up the scoring slack with six points apiece.
The cold-shooting Hawks were 21 of 56 from the floor (37.5 percent), including 4 of 21 from 3-point range (19 percent).
“A lot of shots just weren’t falling,” Coats said. “We were doing some uncharacteristic things and they took advantage of it.”
Barbee said the Hawks haven’t faced a team as athletic and quick as Renton since their season opener against Class 4A Federal Way.
“Their athleticism is going to cause a lot of problems (in Yakima),” he said.
Anacortes 58, Mark Morris 49: 2A Greater St. Helens League MVP Tanner Bill cut Anacortes’ lead to three at 50-47 with 2:05 to play in the game, but the Seahawks ended the game on an 8-2 run to beat the Monarchs and head to the Yakima SunDome as one of the final eight teams of the 2A state tournament.Meg Wochnick: 360-754-5473 email@example.com theolympian.com/southsoundsports