Nobody is labeling it a “4A SPSL Revenge Tour” quite yet.
But one thing is for sure — the Olympia High School boys keep surviving in the 4A West Central/Southwest District tournament the hard way.
Andrew Lindsay scored a team-high 18 points, with 10 coming in the fourth quarter, and the Bears held on to beat Puyallup, 58-54, in a consolation-round game Monday night at Mount Tahoma High School.
Olympia (15-9) will play Skyview (21-2) in a third consolation game Wednesday in another loser-out game in the same gymnasium to earn its first state-regional berth since 2012.
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“We want it bad,” Bears junior guard Lucas Bowser said. “This is something we’ve dreamed of all along.”
Last Friday, the Bears — the No. 5 seed out of the 4A SPSL — avenged two regular-season losses to Rogers by tripping up the Rams, 55-53.
And three days later, Olympia found itself in a similar situation facing the Vikings (15-8), the league’s No. 3 seed who also won both earlier encounters.
The Vikings are arguably the league’s most dangerous 3-point shooting squad, and pumped in five of them, including four by Landon Neff in the first quarter to grab an early lead.
“They are one of the better high school teams I’ve ever seen shooting the ball,” Olympia coach John Kiley said. “Neff is a senior. He has a lot of pride.”
But just as quickly, Puyallup lost its perimeter touch, making just one of 12 field goal attempts in the second quarter.
And at the same time, Olympia put together a 9-0 run, capped by Jackson Grant’s putback, that gave the Bears a 24-19 lead.
Olympia would never trail again.
But that didn’t mean the Vikings would not make things interesting in the final minute.
Again, Neff led the charge back with three more 3-pointers in the fourth quarter. The last one came from deep and straightaway that cut Olympia’s lead to 55-54 with 1:06 remaining.
And 40 seconds later, the Vikings had a chance to take the lead, but turned it over on an errant pass.
Bowser was fouled in backcourt, and calmly sank two free throws for a 57-54 lead.
“I love practicing free throws,” Bowser said. “It is a natural thing, I guess.”
The Bears fouled Neff intentionally on the other end. The Vikings’ standout missed the front end of a one-and-one free throw opportunity.
Toran Effland grabbed the rebound for the Bears, and was fouled. He made a game-clinching free throw with nine seconds to go.
Neff finished with a game-high 25 points. Jacob Holcomb added 14. The Vikings were 12 of 31 from the 3-point area.
“The third-time thing, there is some realness to that,” Kiley said. “But I felt like our team hadn’t had that fight prior to this district tournament And that I saw something more steely, more gritty. And maybe that was the difference the last couple of nights.”