(University Place, WA) Eight state championship contenders met up at Curtis High School on Saturday for the final day of the Bi-District 3/4 4A tournament. All eight teams had punched their ticket to the first round of state and now it was all about building momentum. The gym was constantly filled with spectators and what they got was four great basketball games to enjoy on a cold Saturday.
Camas 60, Tahoma 31 (Girls Championship)
The final game of the night was a rematch from a non-league game earlier in the season but a potential state title preview as the Tahoma Bears took on the Camas Papermakers. Camas walked away with the regular season win and things would remain the same as Camas dominated for a full four quarters on their way to a 60-31 win and a Bi-District Championship.
Tahoma would start out fast in the opening quarter. Hope Hassmann score two quick baskets and a Lily Cavanaugh three had the Bears rolling. Camas slowly worked into their offense and Addison Harris did not take long to get her game going in the paint for the Papermakers. Harris got fouled a lot but was cashing in on her free throw opportunities. The junior went 6 for 7 from the line in the game and all those attempts came in the first half.
A one-point lead after a quarter for Camas blew up in the 2nd quarter. The defense frustrated Tahoma and the Bears had to send Lauryn Frederickson to the bench with four fouls after she scored five points in the 2nd. Those would be the only points Tahoma scored in the 2nd while Camas got more help on offense. Riley Sanz got her jumper going and knocked down a big three while Harris continued to roll in the paint. At halftime, Camas had a 26-14 lead.
In the 3rd quarter, Camas exploded. Keirra Thompson and Parker Mairs started scoring consistently to go along with Harris. Foul trouble continued to build for Tahoma with two of their top three scorers having four fouls going into the 4th. Some three pointers for the Bears by Hassmann and Kate Wooten kept Tahoma in it. A second straight 16-point quarter however built the Papermaker lead to 17 going to the final quarter.
Six points in the 4th for Tahoma put the game away in favor of Camas. The Papermaker offense never slowed down as eight of the nine players that suited up for Camas scored in the game. Harris was just too good down low for Camas and the jump shots just weren’t dropping for Tahoma. Camas put together four strong quarters and that earned them the Bi-District Championship 60-31.
Addison Harris was the MVP of the game with a game high 22 points to go along with 15 rebounds and some dominant defense as well. Harris quickly established herself as the best paint player on the court and played like that the entire game. The junior is one to watch as both teams move into the regional round of the state tournament.
Tahoma: Frederickson 12, Hassmann 7, Cavanaugh 7, Wooten 3, Nettleton 2
Camas: Harris 22, Thompson 11, Mairs 9, Sanz 7, Buzzard 4, Farra 3, Bachelder 2, Forbess 2
Curtis 52, Olympia 50 (Boys Championship)
After trading wins in the first two matchups of the year, Olympia and Curtis met one more time. This time to decide the Bi-District 3/4 boys championship game. While the first two games were comfortable double digit wins for each team, the third game would be anything but comfortable for both sides. The stars and defenses showed up and as the temperature rose in the Curtis High School gym, so did the intensity and dramatics. After a go-ahead basket with 2.1, a court storming and unstorming, and one last Tyce Takeaway, the Curtis Vikings cut down the nets with a 52-50 win.
Slow is the word I would use to describe the first quarter. Neither team got off to a good start on offense which is weird considering that two of the best teams in the state were sharing the court. Zoom Diallo then broke through for the Vikings. The junior star got aggressive with his drives after hitting a couple of early threes. Olympia was balanced in the opening quarter but nobody was able to score more than a basket. The Curtis defense lifted the Vikings to a 14-8.
Then the teams hit their groove in the 2nd quarter. Diallo stayed hot while Cinque Maxwell got more involved on the offensive end for Curtis. Andreas Engholm and Parker Gerrits were the guys for Olympia. Second chance opportunities were a big factor for Olympia as everyone started finding the bottom of the net. Curtis also slowed down a bit on offense but Diallo was able to get the free throw line often and cashed in going 5-6 from the charity stripe. A late pull up three by Parker Gerrits gave Olympia a two-point lead, but that was quickly answered by a phenomenal take by Diallo as he head faked his way inside for a two. At halftime it was all tied up at 26-26.
Temperature in the gym and intensity both trended upwards in the 3rd quarter. Curtis trended the wrong way offensively as they managed just eight points in the 3rd. Engholm stayed strong for the Bears but the story of the 3rd quarter was Parker Gerrits. The Olympia senior produced some of the most incredible shots that you will ever see a high school player make. A very deep three wasn’t even the crème de la crème of his outburst. As the quarter expired and the shot clock as well, Gerrits found himself behind the backboard towards the corner. It did not matter. The high arcing shot dropped over the backboard and straight through the rim to put the icing on the cake for the 3rd quarter. With eight minutes to go, Olympia held a 46-34 lead.
Dreams turned into nightmares for the Bears in the final quarter. The wave of momentum Olympia rode to take the lead came crashing down as Curtis fought back. Tyce Paulsen was the force behind that wave. Paulsen hit a couple of big threes to start the 4th quarter which fired up the Curtis crowd. Cinque Maxwell also hit a couple of big shots while Olympia could not figure things out on offense. After scoring 20 points in the 3rd quarter, the Bears only managed four 4th quarter points.
Olympia still had a shot at the end however. A 4-point lead however disappeared after some inbounding issues led to a couple of Curtis baskets and all of a sudden the game was tied. Olympia would turn the ball over again as they ran a play to try to set up a game winning shot. In the blink of an eye it would be Curtis getting that opportunity. Olympia took away Zoom Diallo and made someone else have to beat them. Tyce Paulsen gladly accepted the challenge. Paulsen drove to the basket and scooped one up with his right hand that found the bottom of the net to put Curtis in front 52-50 with 2.1 seconds left. After a timeout, Olympia tried a long pass into the front court but Paulsen would intercept it to seal the win and Bi-District Championship for the Curtis Vikings.
With his strong game being capped off with a game winning shot and steal, Tyce Paulsen was the MVP of the game for the Vikings. He finished with 17 points which is a strong performance but once again his defense changed the game. He was tasked with guarding Parker Gerrits which is always difficult but created some troubles for the Bears star scorer. Paulsen continues to play with a lot of confidence and his part of a three headed offensive monster for the defending champions headed into state.
Olympia: Gerrits 19, Engholm 15, G. Downing 6, Lindblom 4, Carlson 4, C. Downing 2
Curtis: Diallo 19, Paulsen 17, Maxwell 14, Johnson 2
Emerald Ridge 39, Sumner 33 (Girls 3rd Place)
Third time was the charm for the Emerald Ridge Jaguars as they knocked off the Sumner Spartans for the first time in three tries this season. Like the previous two games however, it was fast paced, intense, and not a single second came easy for either side as they battled to build momentum headed into the regional round of the state tournament.
Sumner got off to an ice cold start in the opening quarter and it was due in large part to the Emerald Ridge defense. The Jags did not get off to a great start offensively but they had more opportunities on offense due to the takeaways. Foul trouble affected Emerald Ridge as well but Sumner struggled at the free throw line. The volume of free throws for Sumner was their key to offense in the first half. As a team, the Spartans only mustered 15 first half points. Emerald Ridge got a couple of big three pointers later in the 2nd quarter by Naomi Senato and Tami Gallo gave the Jags a 20-15 lead after a half.
The 3rd quarter was full of chaos that didn’t settle until the 4th. Olivia Collins caught fire while Lainee Houillon cooled down. Collins scored all nine of her points in the 3rd. Ryah McGriff picked up her fourth foul and had to sit out for most of the 3rd while Kailey Verhoeven came in and picked up her fourth as well. Just eight points on offense for the Jaguars allowed Sumner to storm back. That was when confusion ensued.
The scoreboard read 28-27 in favor of Emerald Ridge headed into the 4th quarter. That score was disputed by Sumner which caused a delay in the game. The scorers table and the officials got together and had to work things out. Eventually they realized it was indeed a tied game at 28-28 going into the final quarter.
That is when the Emerald Ridge defense locked down the Spartans. Only five points were allowed by the Jaguars in the 4th quarter while Ryah McGriff took the came completely over. The freshman scored seven points in the final quarter. Monique Carter attacking with the ball also kept the offense functioning at a high level. Free throw shooting was a big key as Emerald Ridge shot 9-13 from the line while Sumner shot 7-14 from the line. The Jags would celebrate when the horn sounded as Emerald Ridge earned a 39-33 win over the state runners-up.
Our MVP for this game was Naomi Senato who was all over the place defensively. Stepping up with two normal players in the rotation out, Senato capitalized on her opportunity with a team high 10 points and again made a massive impact on defense limiting the outside shooting for Sumner.
Emerald Ridge: Senato 10, McGriff 9, Carter 9, Barnett 5, Gallo 3, Sapilak 2
Sumner: Houillon 12, Collins 9, Gillaspy 6, Griffin 4, Hughes 2
Federal Way 83, Camas 49 (Boys 3rd Place)
The morning game was the 3rd place game in the boys bracket between the #1 team in the AP poll in the Federal Way Eagles against the Camas Papermakers. Federal Way was trying to bounce back from their first loss since December 21st. They would successfully achieve that goal as they took out some frustration in an 83-49 win over Camas.
Early in the game Camas was game and Josh Dabasinskas picked up where he left off. The problem for Camas came when Federal Way adjusted their defense and started shutting down passing lanes. Turnovers and offensive fouls gave Federal Way extra possessions and the offense was on fire. Isaiah Afework was absolutely dominant in the paint and had some deep range help from Colton West. West came off the bench and knocked down three shots from beyond the arc in the opening quarter. Vaughn Weems got going in the 2nd quarter with Afework and Federal Way pulled away. Camas struggled to score consistently and got some in some foul trouble. At halftime Federal Way led Camas 46-25.
In the 2nd half it was more of the same for Federal Way. Dace Pleasant was the go to guy scoring 12 in the second half alone. Dane Lewis and Adonai Burkett splashed down a couple of threes as well while Jace VanVoorhis tried to counter for Camas. The Papermaker sophomore got aggressive attacking the basket and lived at the free throw line in the 3rd quarter. Another rough 4th quarter for Camas did them in as they scored only six points in the final eight minutes. Federal Way never slowed down and ran away with an 83-49 win to take 3rd place in the Bi-District Tournament.
Our MVP for the game was Isaiah Afework who finished with a game high 19 points despite only scoring three in limited minutes in the 2nd half. His defense never slowed down and he led the always aggressive Eagles to plenty of steals and another elite defensive showing.
Camas: Dabasinskas 12, VanVoorhis 9, Carlisle 9, Currie 9, Chilian 3, Harris 3, McMillan 2, Nesland 2
Federal Way: Afework 19, Pleasant 14, Weems 12, West 12, Burkett 9, Lewis 8, Johnson-Holiman 6, Jenkins 3