Class 4A boys basketball tournament
Summaries from first-round games Wednesday at the Class 4A boys state basketball tournament at the Tacoma Dome.
Kentwood 57, Mead 44
Joshua Smith doesn't want to end his senior season with any regrets.
So, in his final trip to the state tournament — his first since freshman year — he's doing everything possible to extend it as long as he can.
Kentwood's senior scored the first seven points of the game, leading the Conquerors to the quarterfinals.
The Panthers (19-7) didn't bring a double team against Smith in the post early on, so the UCLA-bound big man went to work right away.
"It just kind of gave me a green light when they played man," said Smith, who finished with 28 points, 18 rebounds and five assists. "Then I thought, hey, if they're going to play man, I've got to go every time."
Once Smith established himself inside, Kentwood (17-10) got hot from outside, with Tre Tyler hitting two first-half three-pointers.
It was 20-4 after just one quarter, but the Panthers didn't quit and played a competitive second half.
"No team's going to quit," Smith said. "This is state."
Garrett Swanson scored 15 points to lead Mead, while Tyler finished with eight for the Conks.
Eastlake 69, Lake Stevens 48
Michael Russo couldn't get to the locker room before chants of "Russo! Russo!" rang out from a large gathering of Eastlake students waiting for him.
"Their support is great," Russo said with a big smile. "They rode down here on a bus. Their support is very much appreciated."
There's a lot to be excited about at Eastlake these days.
The Wolves stunned Lake Stevens to win their fifth in a row and become a surprise quarterfinalist.
As usual, Russo played a starring role, scoring 21 points and grabbing 13 rebounds as Eastlake (18-8) knocked off the Northwest District champions.
"They're a very good team," said Russo, a 6-foot-5 senior. "We watched film on them. We play one style of basketball and that's pushing it down their throats."
That's what Eastlake did — pushing the pace on offense and pressing on defense. That combination helped turn the momentum in the third quarter, when the Wolves turned a 29-24 halftime lead to a 54-34 bulge.
"We're very disappointed," said Lake Stevens guard Aaron Maw, who led the Vikings with 12 points. "We thought we'd do pretty well. We still have a chance."
Lake Stevens (18-6) finished eighth at the state tournament a year ago. The Vikings were hurt by 21 turnovers.
Eastlake shot only 38 percent but took care of the ball better (13 turnovers) and got balanced scoring from Dillon Pericin (12 points), Anas Elkugia (10), Justin Lester (eight points) Conner Iraola (seven points).
Eastlake's recent winning streak began after the Wolves lost to Woodinville in the opening game of the KingCo tournament.
"We're considered long shots in this tournament," Eastlake senior guard Dillon Pericin said. "That's motivation right there."
Wilson 57, Lake Washington 33
There is no way to truly prepare a team for the state tournament until the players actually take the floor and experience it for themselves.
For Lake Washington, making its first appearance at state since 1997, it took time to find a flow.
"We were tight," Kangaroos coach Barry Johnson said. "We tried to prepare them for this, but until you're out there ... our guys were just short on everything."
Typically a solid free-throw shooting team, Lake Washington (17-8) shot just 36.8 percent from the line.
Wilson jumped out to a 12-2 lead after one quarter with senior Mikey Hope scoring the final seven points of the period. He finished with 18 for the Rams (19-8).
With his team struggling early, Lake Washington senior Alex Houghton tried to rally his team, scoring a team-high 12 points.
"Alex came out ready to play," Johnson said.
Dallas Searles finished with seven points and seven rebounds, while Demetrius Smith scored 20 points for Wilson.
The Kangaroos will play Lincoln in a consolation game at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday.
"I know the guys are going to bounce back," Johnson said. "We're going to go back to the hotel and watch film of the Lincoln team. Our goal coming in here was to play on Saturday. We can still do that."
Walla Walla 55, Lincoln 49
Gary Winston likes to play teams west of the Cascades.
The Walla Walla High School senior considers it a challenge.
"I'd say they're more athletic on this side," Winston said after leading Walla Walla over Lincoln. "There are more full-court traps and stuff. It forces me to play better."
Winston, a prolific scorer all season for the Blue Devils, scored only 18 points yet he and fellow guard Michael Weisner (16 points, eight rebounds) combined to give Lincoln the most trouble. The victory moved the Blue Devils (23-5) into the quarterfinals for the second year in a row.
Lincoln, the surprise West Central District championship after upsetting Federal Way in the title game, rallied from a nine-point deficit to get within 52-49 inside the final minute but couldn't get closer.
"The first one's always the toughest," Walla Walla coach John Golden said. "You never quite know how your kids are going to react. It took us a while to find our shooting touch."
Lincoln (18-8) was led by the trio of Damani Coley (11 points), Denzel Dansby (10) and Jordan Russell (10). What hurt the Abes most was 21 turnovers.
Jackson 45, Skyline 43
Brett Kingma isn't quite sure what happened in the last minute of Jackson's come-from-behind victory over Skyline.
The last thing he remembers thinking is, "I better not miss this layup," with his team trailing by a two in the final minute.
The sixth-ranked Timberwolves (21-4) turned two steals in the final 60 seconds into a pair of Kingma layups to complete the comeback.
"They were a little shaky with the ball, so we attacked them," said Kingma, who finished with 18 points and four steals. "I think defense won us the game today."
Jackson trailed by as many as eight points in the second half. Skyline (20-4) was able to control the tempo, working the ball inside to Cory Hutsen (11 points, 11 rebounds).
With the Spartans taking control of the game, the Timberwolves looked to their defense.
"People talk about how we can't play any defense, sometimes I can't really argue with them, it's true," Jackson coach Steve Johnson said. "But tonight we really needed stops and we got them. We got some turnovers and showed a lot of poise."
Trailing by a basket, eighth-ranked Skyline got one shot for a game-tying jumper at the buzzer, but it hit the side of the rim.
"It's tough when 16-, 17-, 18-year-old boys come into a tournament like this with dreams of playing for a state championship and the first day it's dashed," Spartans coach J. Jay Davis said. "But we've got a lot of character kids and I think we'll bounce back. It hurts. There are a lot of guys hurting in there right now."
Decatur 50, Davis 47
With a lead that bulged to 16 points early in the fourth quarter, Jerron Smith and his Decatur teammates eased up a little on the intensity.
As a result, the Gators learned a lesson they'll surely never forget.
"We kind of let off the gas a little bit for whatever reason," said Smith, a junior guard. "It was really an eye opener that we've got to play a full 32 minutes."
Decatur survived a late charge by Davis and wound up sneaking off the court with a victory.
What began as a sleeper turned into a thriller — and Decatur came away relieved that it had hung on.
"We had to keep our heads," Decatur forward Jordan McCloud said. "You're going to have good times and bad times. You just have to keep your heads during the bad times. That's what we did."
Smith led Decatur (18-9) with 31 points on 10-of-24 shooting and McCloud added 10 points and 12 rebounds.
Ahead just 22-17 at halftime, Decatur picked up the pace in the second half, leading to several transition baskets and eventually went ahead 42-26 early in the fourth quarter.
What Decatur didn't know about the unheralded visitors from Yakima was the team's resiliency and knack for turning around dire situations.
Davis stormed back with four three-pointers in the fourth quarter, the final one by Cooper Kupp that sliced Decatur's lead to 48-47 with 58.8 seconds remaining.
After Decatur missed a shot, Davis had a chance to win it but David Trimble couldn't connect on a midrange jumper.
Decatur's Terrell Williams missed a free throw with 4.2 seconds remaining but teammate Anthony Williams grabbed the rebound, got fouled and made two free throws to secure the victory.
"We're not satisfied," Anthony Williams said. "Our goal is nothing less than a state championship."
Kupp, son of former Pacific Lutheran University quarterback Craig Kupp, led Davis with 15 points. The Pirates (20-8) also got 10 points from Marcus McClurkin, six points and 12 rebounds from Devonte' Luckett and six points and six rebounds from Trimble, the Davis star who shot only 3 of 16 from the field.
Kupp, Luckett and Trimble are all sophomores.
"No one gave up," Kupp said. "We were all positive. It was nice to come back."
"They kept clawing," Davis coach Eli Juarez said. "They kept pushing and they got the reward in the end of being in a position to make the winning shot at the end.
"It's a great experience for the kids. They came and represented themselves, the league and the city well."
Federal Way 64, Stanwood 44
Federal Way came out and made a statement right away.
The top-ranked Eagles refused to let last week's loss to Lincoln in the West Central District title game continue to haunt them, playing well from the opening tip during a victory over Stanwood.
Federal Way (24-2) advanced to the quarterfinals, where coach Jerome Collins' club will take on third-ranked Gonzaga Prep.
Seniors Isiah Umipig and Cole Dickerson set the tone. Dickerson controlled the offensive glass and scored 15 of his game-high 24 points in the first half. Umipig set up his teammates early — he ended the first quarter with an alley-oop to Tyrell Lewis — and dropped in 20 points.
"It's good that we came out and dominated," said Dickerson, who also had nine rebounds. "We're coming off a loss and, for us to do that, is making a good statement."
Kale Schmidt kept Stanwood (16-8) in the game early, scoring 18 points and hitting 3 of 5 three-pointers.
"We were ready to play, it's just there's not much you can do with that quick of a point guard in Umipig and Cole down low, he's pretty good," Schmidt said. "First time, maybe we had the jitters a little bit. We'll be ready to play (Thursday)."
Zack Johnson finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Spartans. Robert Christopher had eight points and eight rebounds for the defending 4A champion Eagles.
Gonzaga Prep 65, Auburn 33
The way Ryan Hansen sees it, little has changed for the Auburn Trojans.
A 65-33 loss to Gonzaga Prep in the first round wasn't going to shake the Auburn coach's focus.
"We came here to play four days," Hansen said. "That goal has not gone away yet. You can't spend time feeling sorry for yourselves."
Auburn, the No. 5 seed out of the West Central District, stumbled early and often against Gonzaga Prep, the East regional champions and No. 3 ranked team in The Seattle Times' final state rankings.
The Bullpups (24-2) tuned up for their quarterfinal showdown with No. 1 ranked Federal Way by turning up the defensive intensity and helping force the Trojans into 11 turnovers and 18.5 percent field-goal shooting (5 of 27) in the first half.
Gonzaga Prep led 29-11 at halftime.
"Certainly we didn't shoot the ball very well," said Hansen, whose Trojans shot 21.4 percent (12 of 56) for the game to the Bullpups' 54.7 percent (29 of 53). "But you've got to give Gonzaga Prep credit. They were really physical with us. Their physicality really showed.
"We got some easy looks that we normally hit. For whatever reason ... we just didn't make shots. As the game went on the shots continued not to fall, you start to press a little bit."
Chris Sarbaugh led a balanced Gonzaga Prep offensive attack with 19 points, followed by David Nelson (12 points) and Ryan Nicholas (10 points). Sarbaugh, a 6-foot-3 junior guard, also added eight rebounds and four steals.
"When Sarbaugh is in attack mode there's nobody better," Gonzaga Prep first-year coach Matty McIntyre said. "He makes our team go. Ryan Nicholas carries the load. Chris Sarbaugh steps on the gas pedal. When we're going fast, we're a pretty good team."
Auburn (16-10) was led by Kevin Henderson, who had 12 points and nine rebounds (all on offense).
"It's a new team," Auburn's Iszia Johnson said. "I'm the only returning guy that has a little bit of state experience. Everybody got a little too rattled up. Everybody just got the first-game jitters. They came out and jumped on us early and kind of rattled us at the beginning."