Timberline weathered a frenetic early pace and more than matched it the rest of the game in an 80-66 victory over Prairie on Friday night at Timberline in the Class 3A West Central/Southwest bi-district tournament.
A Tariq Romain steal-and-breakaway-layup, his second of the fourth quarter, put a punctuation mark on the victory, which earned the feisty Blazers (17-5) a trip to the state’s round of 16.
“Always at the end of games, I’ve got to have that clutch steal to seal it,” said the senior Romain, who scored 18 points. “Defense wins games.”
Erik Stevenson, an athletic 6-foot-3 junior, got in on the defensive theme for the Blazers with a crowd-pleasing blocked shot in the fourth quarter, and led all scorers with 27 points.
Timberline advances to a 6 p.m. matchup on Feb. 15 at Olympia High School against unbeaten Lincoln. The Abes advanced with a 67-55 win over Central Kitsap in Friday’s early game at Timberline.
Prairie (19-3), the Greater St. Helens League 3A champs, came into the game having won nine straight by an average margin of 18.8 points. And they stayed hot Friday, putting up 27 points to lead by nine after a fast-paced first quarter.
Hunter Campau, a 5-11 sophomore, opened the second-quarter scoring with a 3-pointer for Timberline, and Stevenson nailed another triple on the next trip down the floor to quickly slice the Falcon lead to 27-24.
Campau dropped another 3-pointer to get the Blazers within 32-30, then Stevenson gave the Blazers back the lead with a three-point play on an acrobatic hanger in the lane.
Campau had 12 points in the half on four 3-pointers and Stevenson dumped in three 3-pointers.
“He’s the best shooter on the team,” Romain said of Campau, who finished with 17 points. “We’ve been telling him, ‘Shoot the ball!’ ”
After talented senior guard Seth Hall handed Prairie a 36-33 lead with five straight points, the Blazers tallied the last 11 points of the first half to lead 43-36 at the break.
Timberline’s lead bloomed to 10 points at 48-38 on a three-point play by Romain before Hall scored four straight points for the Falcons. Romain’s breakaway layup minutes later made the lead 10 again at 57-47. Timberline led 63-54 on a Stevenson three-pointer to beat the buzzer.
Scoring for both teams slowed early in the fourth quarter. A lefty hanger in the lane gave Timberline a 69-60 edge before Hall cut into the lead with a triple.
Hall led the Falcons with 18 points, and backcourt mate Braiden Broadbent knocked in 15.
Prairie bumps to a 6 p.m. loser-out game Feb. 13 against Gig Harbor/North Thurston at Timberline.
Wilson 62, Kelso 59:
Londrell Hamilton buried a short from behind halfcourt to win the game for the Rams.
“It was an unbelievable shot,” said Wilson statistician Ray Bickerton.
Hamilton and teammate Emmitt Matthews, Jr. led the Rams in scoring with 17 points each, and Anthony Stokes put up 15 as well.
The Hilanders were led by Shaw Anderson, who scored a game-high 23 points. The Rams will continue play against Spanaway Lake on Feb. 15 at Timberline High School at 7:45 p.m.
North Thurston 72, Gig Harbor 60: Christian Clay took over the game in the fourth quarter to lead the Rams over the Tides to clinch a spot at state.
“The kids battled hard and did a good job moving the ball around,” said coach Tim Brown. “Clay was able to get to the hoop and make good shots. Our kids played very well tonight.”
Clay led all scores with 23 points, and Tim Tenkley added 13 to the mix as well. Leading the Tides were a pair of 11 point scorers in RJ Green and Avery Jones.
Kentridge 53, Kentlake 36: The Chargers more than doubled their point total from the last time they faced the Falcons.
Jordyn Jenkins scored a game-high 18 points as Kentridge clinched a state berth with a win over rival Kentlake in the fourth matchup of the season between these teams.
“When we play with a little bit of tempo and we push the pace a little bit, we are really good in transition,” Kentridge coach Bob Sandall said. “We always try to play that way. But they did a good job last time of really slowing us down.”
The last time was for the 4A NPSL Cascade title on Jan. 31 in a 34-26 Kentlake win.
“We had chemistry,” Jenkins said. “And we got it done.”
Gabby Bruno led the Falcons with 17 points as Kentlake heads to a loser-out game.
Port Angeles 44, Eatonville 37: The Roughriders made it tough for the Cruisers all game and it showed as they just couldn’t rally for the final points.
“Positively, we made a few shots in the first quarter and got some turnovers in the fourth,” said coach Jess VanderWeerdt. “Their kids though played consistently.”
Autumn Holt and Sammie Swartout were the leading scorers with 10 points apiece. Holt was particularly effective as she knocked down key free throws and shots during the game.
Black Hills 75, Columbia River 34: Every player that touched the floor for the Wolves scored on a night where Emma Duff put up 10 points to take the win over the Chieftains.
Lindsey Nurmi put up 13 points as well for the Wolves. Leading the Chieftains was Kate Kraft, scoring 11 points.
Staff report contributed to this report.