Tacoma Baptist was already rolling against Chief Leschi late in the first half, looking to put the game away. But they were helped by four straight technical fouls assessed to the Warriors, leading to two player ejections and 10 straight free throws made by Brandon Stoehr. That helped the Crusaders essentially put the game away and coast to a 67-39 win over the Warriors on Jan. 15, as Stoehr led the way with a game-high 21 points.
“That’s the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen,” Stoehr said of the first-half free-throws. “I’ve never been a part of (something like that).”
The Crusaders took a 16-6 lead at the end of the first quarter after Drew Jordan’s put-back with two seconds left. Holding steady throughout the second quarter, they began to expand the lead with three minutes left in the half on Tommie Brazile’s put-back and Stoehr’s three-pointer on the next possession that made it 28-12. The emotional swing happened a little over a minute later, as Stoehr drove in the lane to draw a foul on Jacob Birdwell-Young, who was assessed with two technicals and ejected. Joe Rideout quickly was ejected as well after earning two technicals, and Tacoma Baptist suddenly had a 44-14 halftime lead.
“We did a good job of out-executing them in the first half,” said Crusaders head coach Eric Sivertson. “They were already missing one of their better players, and once the two kids got ejected it was going to be pretty difficult for them to compete. But our boys did a good job of being focused.”
The Crusaders were able to cruise in the second half as Chief Leschi never got within 25 points, and Stoehr continued to help get his teammates involved. Forward Dalton Wintersole finished with 14 points, while Dayton Pascua sank two three-pointers and had 12 points and Jordan added eight points for Tacoma Baptist.
“As long as the team wins, that’s all that matters,” said Stoehr of his point total. “Me scoring helps a lot, but we need to get everyone involved as much as possible.”
But with the sophomore guard continuing to display leadership and maturation, it’s clear that the Crusaders will continue to improve.
“Brandon’s a real high-efficiency scorer,” Sivertson said. “Any time the ball is in his hands he’s got the ability to score. But he’s also a very good team player. He’ll go long periods of time without shooting, he’ll work the ball around. He’s one of our better passers.”
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