Stadium has seen its fair share off drama early in the playoff season. But the Tigers have come out unscathed so far, notching victories over SPSL South foes Emerald Ridge and Curtis last weekend to advance to the district semifinals.
The Tigers held on for a 45-44 win over Emerald Ridge at home in their opener on Feb. 13, surviving after the Jaguars charged back from a 12-point deficit in the fourth quarter.
Marcus Harris – who scored 16 of his game-high 22 points after halftime – drove for a layup with 33 seconds remaining to cut it to 41-39, but Bobby Moorehead and Mark Galanesi clinched the game with two free throws apiece in the final seconds.
“My shot wasn’t really falling tonight, so I knew I had to take it to the hole, and maybe get fouled,” said Moorehead, who scored 10 of his 12 points in the second half.
Ben Cottrill’s three-pointer midway through the third quarter had given Stadium a 28-17 lead, as Emerald Ridge missed their first 10 shots of the half and scored four points in the period.
“I think that’s what won us the ballgame,” said Stadium head coach Doug Cocke’.
The Tigers gutted out a 39-37 overtime win over Curtis on Feb. 15, as Lucious Brown fed Moorehead for the game-winning layup with 33 seconds remaining.
“Lucious is the best passer I’ve ever coached,” Cocke’ said, “and Bobby does a great job of dive cutting like that.”
The Tigers had taken a 17-10 lead into halftime, outscoring the Vikings 7-1 in the second quarter. Curtis’ Tory Causey hit four three-pointers in the second half, the last of which gave the Vikings a 33-31 lead with 1:48 remaining in regulation. Brown – who finished with 13 points and nine rebounds – hit a tying jumper with 24 seconds left, sending the game to overtime. Malik Mayeux added 11 points, 12 rebounds, three blocks and three steals for Stadium in the win.
The Tigers were set to face Todd Beamer in the semifinals at Auburn High School on Feb. 20 at 6 p.m.
BELLARMINE PREP STUNS UNION LATE
Bellarmine Prep provided quite an encore to Stadium’s strong finish the game before. Mar’kese Jackson converted a three-point play with four seconds remaining, helping the Lions charge back from an eight-point deficit for a 46-45 win over Union on Feb. 15 at Auburn High School.
“We just always want to stay together,” said Jackson, who scored 11 of his team-high 18 points in the fourth quarter. “We stuck to our defense…our defense won us the game.”
Jackson’s late dramatics came after Malachi Flynn poked the ball away from Union’s Micah Paulson, Garrett McKay corralled the steal and passed to Carson Hollyoak, who fed a charging Jackson in the lane. Jackson’s first attempt missed, but he grabbed the rebound and sank a layup while being fouled by the Titans’ Riley Hawken. Cameron Cranston’s three-pointer at the buzzer was off the rim, giving the Lions the win.
Paulson had given the Titans a 41-33 lead with a driving layup with 5:23 remaining, but the Lions slowly crept back. Jackson’s three-pointer at the 2:37 mark pulled them within 41-39, and Flynn followed by tying it with two free throws on the next possession.
The Lions found it tough going in the middle against Union, as 6-foot-8 forward Isaiah Robinson had nine blocks for the Titans. Hawken was an inside monster as well, finishing with 22 points and 10 rebounds for Union. But the Lions’ Will Wolf tallied 14 points and 11 rebounds, while Rex Bodoia added six points and 10 rebounds.
“Those two guys are warriors,” said Bellarmine Prep head coach Bernie Salazar. “They battle all the time. We are extremely proud of them.”
The Lions advanced to face Kentridge in the district semifinals at Auburn High School on Feb. 20 at 7:45 p.m.
FOSS ROLLS OVER PRAIRIE
Minus a small hiccup in the second quarter, Foss' district playoff opener went exactly as planned. The Falcons jumped all over Prairie in the first quarter, as their defensive pressure helped build a big lead on the way to an eventual 71-52 win on Feb. 17 at Rogers High School.
Senior forward Olashawan Miller scored all 13 of his points in the first quarter to lead the offense, as his layup after a nice pass from Ar’Mond Davis put Foss up 15-2 at the 2:54 mark.
“I think we go as Olashawan goes,” said Foss head coach Mike Cocke’. “When Olashawan Miller shows up and plays, we’re a different team.”
The Falcons led 22-8 at the end of the first quarter, as Prairie committed 12 turnovers in the period and had just six shot attempts. Prairie finished with 28 turnovers in the game, as Davis collected four steals and Michel Cocke’ and Dabalos-McMahon added three steals apiece.
“We really wanted to establish our tempo in the first quarter and then try to extend the lead,” Mike Cocke’ said. “It was just a good overall effort by a lot of different guys.”
Prairie’s James Phillips scored 10 of his team-high 21 points in the second quarter, helping cut the deficit to 27-22. But Foss finished the half on an 8-2 run that was capped by Davis’ lay-in at the buzzer.
Davis then took over in the third quarter, scoring 15 of his game-high 32 points – including 10 points during a 16-3 run by Foss – to put the game away.
Chris Reynolds added 14 points and seven rebounds in the win for Foss, who faced Kennedy Catholic in the quarterfinals on Feb. 19.
LINCOLN PUTS HAZEN AWAY EARLY
Lincoln decided to put the suspense of a loser-out scenario to bed early. The Abes started a monster run late in the first quarter, as a whirlwind of three-pointers created a sizable lead that allowed Lincoln to coast to a 66-47 win over Hazen on Feb. 17 at Rogers High School in their 3A district opener.
With the Abes leading 7-6 five minutes into the game, Trevion Brown drove for a layup to ignite a 27-2 run in just over four minutes of game time. Brown – who finished with a team-high 18 points – sank all four of his three-pointers during the run, the last of which put the Abes up 34-8 with 7:05 to go until halftime. Josiah Barsh added two threes and Ahmaad Rorie sank another trey during the stretch.
“We’ve got very good shooters, but as a team we’re a little bit streaky,” said Lincoln head coach Aubrey Shelton. “When you make one or two, it kind of snowballs and guys start feeling more confident. I think we were moving the ball well and finding guys, and getting stops. The defense led to offense.”
Hazen could never threaten the Abes from that point on, as the Highlanders finished just 15-for-52 from the field and 2-for-15 from three-point range.
Barsh and Rorie finished with 12 points apiece for Lincoln, while Justiss Warren added nine points and Justice Martion tallied seven points and 10 rebounds. Dominic Green led Hazen with 18 points. The Abes traveled down south to face Columbia River in the quarterfinals on Feb. 19.