Erik Stevenson lifted off, pulled the ball behind his head, and visciously slammed it into the hoop.
It didn’t give Timberline High School the lead, but senior Casson Rouse says it gave the ninth-ranked Blazers the momentum they needed.
“I got the ball, passed it up to Erik and he had that two-hand, two-foot bangout,” Rouse said. “That was a complete momentum shift. After that we were all hyped.”
The dunk came as part of a big third-quarter run that gave Timberline a lead over Prairie on Saturday at Puyallup High School.
Timberline got in front for good on a Stevenson basket with one minute, 15 seconds to go in the third, and never lost it, topping the Falcons, 74-63, to advance to the 3A West Central/Southwest bidistrict semifinals.
“Momentum is huge,” said Stevenson, a Wichita State signee who led all scorers with 31 points and pulled down nine rebounds. “Once you get that, you keep hitting shots and win the game.”
Which is exactly what Timberline did. The Blazers rallied from a rough first half, scoring 47 points during the final two periods.
Rouse complemented Stevenson with 21 points, and the two combined for 21 of Timberline’s 23 points in the third quarter to give the Blazers the final lead.
“Casson had a great offensive game, Eli (Morton) played great defense,” Stevenson said. “I just played for the win. We came out with energy.”
Energy was what the Blazers lacked in the first half. Prairie took the lead with 2:30 to go in the first quarter on a basket by Kameron Osborn, who led the Falcons with 18.
Dante Heitschmidt (11 points) and Zeke Dixson (10) both reached double figures for the Falcons, who took an 11-point lead into halftime.
“Their zone is pretty good. They’re long. They know how to play fundemental,” Stevenson said. “But we were settling too much on the offensive end, and that’s why we were down 11 at half.”
Prairie led by as many as 12 points before Timberline’s third-quarter comeback.
Timberline (18-4) moves on to play second-ranked Lincoln (22-0) at 6 p.m. Thursday at Foss High School. It is a repeat of last season’s semifinal matchup, which the Abes won in the game’s final minute.
NO. 9 TIMBERLINE
T – Rouse 21, Campau 3, Morton 9, Stevenson 31, Joubert 2, Faalogo 6, Jones 2
P – Heitschmidt 11, Osborn 18, Broadbent 8, Z. Dixson 10, Millspaugh 2, Locke 2, A. Dixson 2, Reed 2, Kogler 8