Jarryn Bush couldn’t put it into words.
“It’s just actions,” the Timberline High School forward said. “It just feels amazing. I’ve felt it the last two years, and it was just as sweet this year, my senior year. It feels awesome.”
Bush’s game-high 21 points Wednesday night led the Blazers to a 66-56 win over Class 4A Narrows League rival Olympia at Stadium High School.
It was the third meeting of the season between the two programs – Olympia won the first two.
“I did not (sleep) at all,” Bush said. “At school, I tried to talk to people, but it wasn’t happening. I was in my own world. I just had my music going, and all I could think of was round three with Oly, winner goes to state, loser goes home.”
Timberline’s win knocked Olympia out of the 4A West Central District tournament, and guaranteed the Blazers a second consecutive trip to the 4A state regionals. Timberline has advanced to the state regionals for the last four years – it played in the 3A classification in 2013 and 2014.
“Going back to state is a great feeling, but we don’t just want to go,” Timberline coach Allen Thomas said. “We actually want to make some noise, and I think this group is well equipped to do that.”
But the Blazers had to get past Olympia first.
The teams traded six leads early before Tariq Romain gave Timberline a 2-point advantage with four minutes, 19 seconds to play in the third quarter.
Olympia never regained the lead from that point, and shot four of 16 (25 percent) in the fourth quarter as the Blazers slipped away.
“Throughout the game, I was like, ‘We’ve been here the last two years, so I know it’s coming,’” Bush said. “I just didn’t know when.”
Bush had a feeling Timberline would win at the end of the third quarter, when Erik Stevenson hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to make it 48-42. Stevenson had 13 points for the Blazers, while Jaelen Bush added another 10.
But Thomas wasn’t comfortable until Eli Morton netted Timberline’s last point – the back end of a one-and-one – with 10.4 seconds to play.
“That’s when I felt like, ‘We’ve got this,’” Thomas said. “You never know with Oly, that’s how tough they are.”
The Bears did stay within striking distance. Liam Murphy converted a four-point play after knocking down a long 3-pointer to cut Timberline’s lead to four with 4:59 to play.
And Eddie Beusch sunk another 3-pointer to make it a one-possession game with 3:26 remaining.
Beusch and Murphy scored 10 apiece. Hunter Sipe led Olympia with 15.
Olympia finished 17 of 37 (45.9 percent) shooting. Timberline was 23 of 44 (52.3 percent).
“There is no going away from Oly because they’re a greatly coached program,” Jarryn Bush said. “Their players are great players. They believe in their coach, and their coach says, ‘We never go away.’ And it clearly shows, because they never go away.”
Tariq Romain swiped the ball from Olympia’s Brett Thompson and converted the breakaway layup to give Timberline a six-point lead with 45 seconds to play.
“I owed coach one because I was messing up the whole game,” Romain said. “I told coach I was going to get him one, and there it was.”
That was the final field goal by either side.
Olympia missed its final six attempts, and Morton hit four straight free throws to seal it.
“We just came together finally, and we just decided late in the third and mid-fourth quarter that we were going to play defense, and we were going to rebound,” Thomas said. “When we did that, we were pretty much unstoppable as a team.”
Timberline (15-8) moves on to play Kentridge (15-10) for fifth or sixth place at noon Saturday at Mt. Tahoma High School. Both teams advance to regionals regardless of the outcome.
“It was very sweet, but it’s just one game,” Thomas said. “We’ve got to look forward to Kentridge now. They beat a tough Yelm team tonight. Their bigs are very solid inside. So, we’re going to look to regroup, enjoy this for a night, and get back to the drawing board.”
Olympia 17 11 14 14_56
Timberline 15 11 22 18_66
O: Beusch 10, Woodward 8, Sipe 15, Hernandez 4, Murphy 10, Thompson 5
T: Romain 8, Curry 4, Rouse 2, Stevenson 13, Morton 8, Jaelen Bush 10, Jarryn Bush 21