TACOMA — All postseason long, the Timberline High Blazers have been riding a tidal wave of emotion and momentum.
But they were buried beneath a huge avalanche of ungodly hot shooting – and scoring – in the quarterfinals of the Class 3A state boys basketball championships Thursday afternoon.
Ninth-ranked Franklin made nine of its first 12 shots of the second half to break open a tight game, and the Quakers silenced Timberline, 78-55, in the Tacoma Dome.
Donaven Dorsey, the Blazers’ star, did his best to put the West Central District runners-up on his back, scoring a game-high 30 points – 18 coming in an entertaining first half.
But the 6-foot-6 Dorsey against five Franklin players who are nearly as athletic and physical as he is, and just as determined, was an unfair fight. He badly needed a sidekick to emerge. Nobody did.
“One guy stepped up and did his part,” Timberline coach Allen Thomas said. “Other guys were intimidated by the moment.”
When Timberline could get the dangerous Quakers to rush shots against its zone defense and play at a slower pace, the game remained tight. And the shots Dorsey was hitting all over the floor – 3-pointers, twirling shots in the lane and really difficult fallaway baseline jumpers with defenders in his face – left followers unfamiliar with him asking one question: “Who is that guy?”
“No. 33 (Dorsey) was really dangerous as well in the first half,” Franklin coach Jason Kerr said.
In fact, Timberline scored on four of its first five possessions in the second quarter. Dorsey started it with a 3-pointer, and Elijah Sanders finished the Blazers’ 9-0 run with an inside basket to give the underdogs a 20-17 lead with 5:50 remaining in the first half.
The Quakers responded with a 10-0 run, and the Blazers never led again.
And then Franklin really got rolling.
After Timberline trimmed its deficit to 33-28 early in the second half, Franklin came to rely on 6-8 Eugene Artison as its inside-outside weapon. And Darnell Berry, Patrick Ball, Artison and Tim McMillon all hit 3-pointers in the Quakers’ 32-point third quarter.
Ball and Artison hit back-to-back 3-pointers to give Franklin a 51-33 lead at the 2:21 mark of the third quarter.
“Tonight came down to them having a few more kids making shots,” Thomas said.
The run also was fueled by the Quakers limiting Dorsey to five third-quarter points.
“I just know we play better basketball when we execute on both ends of the floor,” Kerr said.
Dorsey was not going to complain about the outcome. He stuck by the mantra that he and his teammates are “win or lose, family.”
“It didn’t happen tonight,” Dorsey said. “They’re a good team.”Todd Milles: 253-597-8442 firstname.lastname@example.org blog.thenewstribune.com/preps @ManyHatsMilles