Momentum dictates the outcome of basketball games, a hard fact the Timberline High School boys learned Saturday afternoon at Bellevue College.
After twice holding early leads over West Seattle and driving to create a personal foul against each of the Wildcats’ 6-foot-8 Mohamed brothers, Abdullah and Yusuf, in the first 30 seconds, the Blazers started to hurry things, taking shots they shouldn’t have too early in the shot clock.
“Sometimes when you take a quick shot it leads to a run out, then another,” said Blazers coach Allen Thomas. “You get down six, then eight, then 10. You lose a little confidence and look like you’re back in the second week of the season.”
In this case, the Blazers ultimately lost not only confidence but the game as West Seattle downed Timberline, 60-38, in a 3A regional round game played to help seed the upcoming Hardwood Classic at the Tacoma Dome. The Blazers (18-7) will play Seattle Prep (18-8) at 3:45 p.m. on Wednesday while West Seattle (20-6) draws a first-round bye and will play against an opponent yet to be determined Thursday at 7:15 p.m.
Timberline got the first lead, 2-0, on a pair of free throws by Tariq Romain, but the Wildcats quickly rallied to go ahead 8-4 as both guard Nate Pryor and Yusuf Mohamed turned steals into fast-break layups. The Blazers tied it 10-10 on a fast-break layup by Romain at the three-minute mark, but after Abdullah Mohamed followed his own miss to put West Seattle back up, Timberline never led again.
The Seattle University-bound Pryor led the game with 21 points while Abdullah Mohamed added 12 and Yusuf Mohamed 10 for the Wildcats. Timberline was led by Erik Stevenson’s 10 points. Romain and Jalen Bush each added nine and earned praise from Thomas.
“Tariq did a good job taking the ball at the basket,” he said. “Jalen has been steadily improving, he’s established himself in the post.”
Down six at the half, 26-20, after showing some strong defense in the first two quarters, the Blazers watched their deficit grow the rest of the way, with the final margin West Seattle’s largest lead of the night.
Allen and his coaching staff scouted Seattle Prep’s game on Friday night and plan to be ready.
“It’s on me to have a better game plan than we did today. It’s my fault we weren’t as ready as we should have been,” he said. Creating Wednesday’s approach will be something of a second chance, as Thomas says the Panthers pose similar challenges to West Seattle.
“They’ve got a good point guard in Aaron Nettles and two quality bigs in Collin Welp (6-9) and Nic Lynch (6-10).”