TACOMA — The Enumclaw Hornets had the height advantage up and down the roster, starting no player shorter than 6-foot-3.
But it didn’t help much against Timberline High’s relentless ball pressure Wednesday night — and did little to slow down star junior point guard Brandell Evans.
The Blazers forced 11 turnovers during a momentum-swinging third quarter, and Evans scored a game-high 26 points as Timberline defeated Enumclaw, 69-61, in a Class 3A West Central District quarterfinal game at Washington High School.
Timberline (13-9) advances to the semifinals, where it will take on Lincoln at 7:45 p.m. Friday at Rogers High School.
After trailing 32-29 at halftime, the Blazers dialed up the pressure on the Hornets (19-4), who struggled to find a player with the ballhandling ability to break the press and start the offense. As the turnovers started to pile up, Timberline found its groove, taking a 41-39 lead on Evans’ layup in traffic with 1 minute, 54 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
“Our idea was to pressure them, (and) get the ball out of (Drake) Rademacher’s hands,” said Evans, who scored 11 points in the third quarter, often slicing through the paint before the defense could cut off his lane. “Just attack, attack, attack.”
Although star forward and University of Washington recruit Donaven Dorsey picked up his fourth foul with 1:21 left in the third, the Blazers still closed the quarter on a 5-2 run, taking a 48-42 lead into the fourth.
“We’re used to Donaven being out because he had that injury (earlier in the year),” Evans said. “They just kept telling me to attack, and I was feeling it so I just kept attacking … try to get into the paint and find my shooters.”
Timberline pushed the lead to as many as eight when Dorsey drilled a 3-pointer with 4:58 left in the fourth quarter, but the Hornets rallied and took the lead at 56-55 on a putback with three minutes to play by Rademacher (17 points, nine rebounds).
But after struggling early, Dorsey came alive down the stretch. He answered with a 3-pointer on the next possession, then stole a pass and finished hard at the other end, making a free throw to cap a 3-point play that pushed the lead to 61-56. The big man then dunked in a miss one possession later, bringing the Timberline faithful to their feet.
“I guess I kind of let the game get to me (early on),” said Dorsey, who scored 19 of his 22 in the second half. “I kind of let it get to my head. Coach just told me to calm down and just play my game.”
The Blazers also got key contributions on offense and defense from Tyler Gartner (nine points) and sophomore Jarryn Bush (eight points).
“The time that Donaven got hurt really paid off for us tonight,” Timberline coach Allen Thomas said. “We had to go 10 deep tonight with our bench. It was a total team effort.”
CLASS 2A GIRLS DISTRICT IV CONSOLATION
River Ridge, Black Hills to settle final regional berth Saturday: Two of Class 2A’s top 10-ranked teams – River Ridge and Black Hills – face off in Saturday’s 6 p.m. winner-to-regional, loser-out game at a location to be determined after each posted loser-out consolation victories Wednesday.
The fourth-ranked Hawks topped Aberdeen, 50-42, while the No. 5 Wolves, powered by four players in double figures, including 12 from Taylor Sauls and 11 from Sarah McGee, used a big fourth quarter to pull away from Centralia, 69-49.
River Ridge and Black Hills split their 2A Evergreen Conference regular-season meetings, with River Ridge winning, 72-49, in their last matchup on Jan. 31.
CLASS 1A GIRLS DISTRICT IV CONSOLATION
Rochester 47, Elma 41: The Warriors won their second consecutive loser-out game in the 1A District IV tournament and face Kalama – which defeated Rochester in the first round of the district tournament, 59-43, on Feb. 15. The teams meet in a winner-to-regional game at 6 p.m. Friday at W.F. West.
Staff writer Meg Wochnick contributed to this report.