LACEY - When you're hot, you're hot.
Just ask Black Hills, an upset winner for the second straight playoff game.
After losing to Tumwater twice during the regular season, Black Hills pulled off a stunning 70-63 victory over the Thunderbirds on Wednesday in a 2A District IV semifinal game, guaranteeing the Wolves a trip to regionals.
“I don’t know what our season record is, but we’re 2-0 in the playoffs,” said an elated Black Hills coach Jamie Berg. “I knew we had the potential. It was just a matter of getting players back and having everyone playing together.”
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For the record, the Wolves are 8-14 overall. And that eighth win came courtesy of 6-foot-5 guard Anye Turner, who didn’t play in the last loss to Tumwater and played only a half in the first meeting. The Black Hills senior led all scorers with 30 points – 16 in the second half.
“We showed some heart,” Turner said. “We didn’t give up. We came back.”
As the final horn sounded, Black Hills fans swarmed the court, celebrating their unexpected win.
“I’m so happy for my guys,” Berg said. “They said they wanted to beat Tumwater and they wanted to go to state. Tonight they did both.”
Black Hills, which finished fifth in league and opened the playoffs with an upset win against top-seeded Hockinson, now plays River Ridge at 8 p.m. Friday in the district title game at Saint Martin’s University. The winner advances as the No. 1 seed to regionals and the loser goes as the second seed.
River Ridge defeated Chehalis, 73-66, in the other semifinal Wednesday.
“Now we have another goal. We want to win the district title,” River Ridge coach Jeremy Landram said.
The Hawks have been to the district championship game four straight years, winning the last two.
Against Chehalis, River Ridge led 27-12 after the first quarter and 42-31 at halftime. But the Bearcats opened the fourth quarter with a 9-2 run, closing to 58-57 on Yasser Khan’s two free throws.
River Ridge answered with a 5-0 run, capped by Brad Wallace’s 3-pointer, and Chehalis never got closer than three points as the Hawks beat the Bearcats for the third time this season.
“We knew they wouldn’t quit,” Landram said. “But our guys didn’t panic. I’m very pleased to get the win.”
Wallace led River Ridge with 20 points, and Charlie Conner added 13. Brock Wade led Chehalis with 28 points.
Trailing 30-29 at halftime of its semifinal and 46-45 after three quarters, Tumwater opened the fourth quarter with a 12-2 run, opening a 57-48 lead on back-to-back fastbreak lay-ins by Kyle Warner. But Black Hills answered with a 13-0 run as the T-Birds missed four shots and turned the ball over four times on their next eight possessions.
“The difference this time was we took the lead and they bounced back,” Tumwater coach Curtis Medved said. “We let up a little when we went on that run. We called a timeout and said, ‘Don’t think it’s over when it’s not.’ ”
Junior guard Daniel Hinkle led Tumwater with 17 points. Zach Boede and Warner added 14 points each.
Mark Morris 71, North Thurston 70: For the second straight game, the Rams lost at district by a single point. Their season ends with a 15-7 record.
North Thurston trailed 40-29 at halftime, and just as in Saturday’s 58-57 loss to River Ridge, it was a frantic finish. The Rams forced a 68-all tie with 29.2 seconds left, but couldn’t pull out the win.
The Rams’ Landon Rushton led all scorers with 32 points. Dalton Thacker led the Monarchs with 22 points, and Tanner Brill and 20.
Mark Morris faces Tumwater at 7:45 p.m. today at Chehalis in another consolation game.
Gail Wood: 360-754-5443
This story was edited to correct the final score in the Tumwater vs. Black Hills game.