Being able to overcome size differentials all season long has been a staple of the Wilson Rams. That came to an end on Friday night at Rogers High School, and so did the storybook season for the Narrows 3A basketball champions as the Lake Washington Kangaroos beat the Rams by a score of 51-40 in the 3A regional behind the 27 points of 6-foot-10 center Darien Nelson-Henry.
"We lost all our energy in the second quarter, scoring only the five points for the entirety of the eight minutes," said Wilson head coach Dave Alwert of his team that many gave no chance to compete with the likes of Lincoln and Foss in the division.
The Rams would vault out to a five-point lead at 13-8 as Jaiden Martin would have his way against the slow-footed Nelson-Henry in the low post, scoring six points. But the Kangaroos came back to score the final six points in the quarter to take a 14-13 lead and would never look back. As the Lake Washington lead increased, so did the Kangaroos' defense, putting the clamps on both Phoenix Waters and Kevin Johnson. The duo combined for one field goal and four points total in the first half as Lake Washington took a 30-18 lead into the locker room.
"They did a great job of pressuring them and denying them the ball all night," Alwert said. The Rams would make a run at the Kangs midway through the final quarter as Martin, Johnson, and freshman Ivy Smith keyed a 6-0 run to cut the lead to 40-34, but Nelson-Henry countered that with eight fourth-quarter points to help put the game out of reach.
As the horn sounded, there were long faces and tired bodies on the Wilson side, but after a little time for reflection, senior Kevin Johnson looked back at his four years at the North Tacoma school.
"It's been a great experience playing for coach Alwert, he's a great coach who I'll miss very much…we tried to establish a goal to get to state, it's a legacy we wanted to leave." As the locker room was all but cleared out, Alwert added to the sentiments of the postgame Wilson locker room. "I'm really proud of my kids, and I can't say enough of the 20-win season that they accomplished."
By Steve Mullen
O'DEA PULLS AWAY FROM LINCOLN
Despite a monster performance from Tre'Shaun Lexing, Lincoln struggled to find other contributors as O'Dea took a 10-point, first-half lead and cruised to a 67-48 win over the Abes in the 3A state regionals at Jackson High School tonight.
"We were just asleep," said Abes head coach Aubrey Shelton. "That was the most lethargic I've ever seen our guys. I don't know if they were a little nervous or scared or what, but we looked dead in warm-ups, and we played dead in the game."
Lexing finished with a game-high 29 points and 11 rebounds, but the Abes combined to shoot just over 30 percent from the field – including just 2-for-17 from three-point range – while also committing 20 turnovers.
Lexing hit two quick shots to get the game off to a 4-4 start, but O'Dea's Jalen Ward nailed a three-pointer, and Sekou Wiggs followed with a jumper to answer for the Irish. Jacob Lampkin's layup made it 22-11 late in the second, and Wiggs' three-point play with a minute left in the half gave O'Dea a 25-14 lead. Lincoln scored 14 of the Abes' 16 points in the first half, as they went into the locker room trailing 26-16.
"We wanted to play good, solid Lincoln defense. And at times we did," said Shelton. "We actually killed ourselves offensively with 10 turnovers in the first half…if we take care of the ball offensively and get a couple of buckets, then the defense is going to be a lot better."
The Irish shot out to a 40-23 lead to start the second half before Lexing converted a three-point play, but O'Dea kept pouring it on. Wiggs and Ward each finished with 19 points, while Dana Abe had a team-high 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Irish. O'Dea also went 21-for-29 from the free-throw line, helping salt away the game in the fourth quarter. Ar'Mond Davis tallied seven points, five steals and two rebounds for Lincoln.
By Jeremy Helling
BELLARMINE ADVANCES, FOSS FALLS
The Bellarmine boys became the city's lone representative at the Tacoma Dome this week with a convincing 74-54 win over Snohomish on Feb. 24. The Lions were led by Sefo Liufau's 25 points, while David Smith and Isaiah Flynn had 13 points apiece and Lucas Meikle added 11 points.
The Lions faced a matchup against Mount Rainier on March 1 at 5:30 p.m. at the Tacoma Dome. Bellarmine beat the Rams 67-61 in their district finale on Feb. 20. Were the Lions to win in the first round they would play on March 2 at 7:15 against either Davis or Bothell, and if they lost they would play on March 2 at 12:15 in a loser-out game. The results to determine the matchup were not available by press time.
Despite battling tough against the state's top-ranked team in 3A, Foss fell 58-54 to Kamiakin on Feb. 24 to end their season.