Timberline High School made sure Friday night that Wednesday night will matter.
The No. 10 Blazers rode a big second half to a crucial 73-56 win over 3A South Sound Conference rival Capital, sweeping the season series on the road in Olympia.
Wichita State signee Erik Stevenson led all scorers with 22 points, and pulled down nine rebounds, while Eli Morton (19 points), Casson Rouse (13) and Hunter Campau (11) all scored in double figures for the Blazers.
The win means Timberline (13-3, 9-1 3A SSC) will host crosstown rival No. 6 North Thurston (16-0, 10-0) in a game that will likely decide the league title Wednesday night.
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“It’s one of those things where you could easily look past Capital trying to get revenge on North Thurston,” Timberline coach Allen Thomas said. “I thought we did a good job of staying composed for the most part.”
Timberline never trailed, but had to endure a shaky first half to enter the break with a 26-16 lead.
“They have a high-energy school. Just the atmosphere here is always hard to play in,” Rouse said. “I don’t think it got to us, but it definitely played a little bit of a factor. Once we got a little bit more comfortable in the second half, we started to turn up.”
“We get everybody’s best shot,” Stevenson said. “It’s just like another playoff atmosphere.”
Stevenson broke the game open in the third quarter, scoring 10 of his 22 points as part of 24-point quarter that pushed Timberline’s lead to double digits for good.
“Ball movement helped a lot,” Rouse said. “In the first half the ball was sticky. We just needed to keep it moving. Whenever we keep the ball moving we’re dangerous.”
Timberline caused 20 turnovers, and capitalized on points in transition to keep a comfortable margin. The Blazers held Capital’s leading scorer Chris Penner (15.8 points per game) to a season-low 2 points.
“The defense travelled,” Thomas said. “Conner Warick and Jamin Faalogo were tough inside, and our guards were trying to speed up the tempo.”
Grant Erickson led the Cougars with 17 points, while Dawson Landers had 13 and Brett Stock added 10.
Capital had an opportunity to close the gap early in the fourth quarter, opening up a 12-0 run with baskets from four different players to cut Timberline’s lead to 10 points.
But Morton drilled a 3-pointer from the corner at the shot clock buzzer with 3:05 remaining to silence a late comeback. The Blazers scored 15 points in the final three minutes to hold the Cougars off.
“It was a good battle to get us tested again for Thurston,” Stevenson said.
Timberline is on a seven-game winning streak entering next week’s rivalry game. Capital (13-3, 7-3) remains in third place in the league with four games remaining on the schedule, and still has potential to shake up the top of the standings.
NO. 10 TIMBERLINE
T – Rouse 13, Campau 11, Morton 19, Lacy, Stevenson 22, Joubert 1, Faalogo 4, Jones 2
C – Layton 3, Penner 2, Landers 13, Stock 10, Collard 2, Newman 2, Riedel 7, Erickson 17