'Big Zach' tops O'Dea
Zach Banner leads Lakes to upset of O'Dea
Special to The Seattle Times
State Hoops '11
TACOMA — The boys basketball teams of O'Dea and Lakes high schools mirror each other in many ways.
Both have quick, athletic guards who thrive in the transition game and both teams are coached by men whose styles are similar.
But Lakes coach JoJo Rodriguez knew in the days leading up to the Class 3A state quarterfinals Thursday night that Lakes had one sizable feature that O'Dea couldn't match — 6-foot-9, 310-pound center Zach Banner.
Lakes designed its game plan around its big center and Banner came up big with eight of his 16 points in the final seven minutes as Lakes rallied to beat O'Dea, 60-56.
"I thought our strength would be to go to Big Zach," Rodriguez said. "And we didn't try to go away from it."
Banner, one of the nation's most sought-after junior football prospects, struggled during the middle portion of the game by rushing his shots. Rodriguez took him aside on a couple of occasions to remind him to get set and not shoot off-balance.
And his teammates stayed patient, too.
"I told him a few days ago that he was going to be a big difference in this game," said senior guard Isaac Winston, who led Lakes (23-3) with 17 points. "He kept telling me he was going to do it. They played very good D on him. Zach just played harder. He made some big-time layups down the stretch."
Banner made four field goals to help Lakes rally from a 46-40 deficit.
His last shot tied the game at 49.
After that, it was Andrew Holloway's turn. He scored seven of the Lancers' final 11 points.
O'Dea, ranked No. 1 in The Seattle Times state rankings, had a chance to tie the game trailing Lakes 57-54 but Dustin Watts' open three-pointer fell short with 18.9 seconds remaining.
Watts led O'Dea (23-4) with 21 points. Sekou Wiggs added 13.
"It definitely wasn't our day," O'Dea coach Al Hairston said. "We didn't play well enough to win. All the credit goes to Lakes. There were times when I thought they wanted it more than we did and they played harder than we did at times."
Hairston said the biggest difference was Lakes' 47-30 advantage in rebounding.
Banner had nine rebounds and teammate Taylor McAllister led Lakes with 13.
Banner said the Lakes coaches got him focused on the right adjustments.
"That's when I started playing big," Banner said. "When they doubled down I kicked it out. When they didn't double down I just took it strong to the hoop and I realized there was no matchup out there that could stop me."
Chief Sealth 48
Evian Richard saw the ball rolling on the floor. His team trailed by one and he knew time was running out. He scooped it up and went to the hoop.
His basket with 12.6 seconds to play proved to be just enough to escape against No. 10 Chief Sealth in the quarterfinals.
"The ball just found its way to me," Richard said.
The senior's final stats weren't overwhelming — seven points, two rebounds, two blocks, three steals — but his contribution counted.
"Evian's been a stud the last five weeks," Bellevue coach Chris O'Connor said. "He really has. No one really knows about him, but he does all the little things for us."
The Wolverines (23-5) play Glacier Peak at 9 p.m. Friday, while Chief Sealth (21-9) plays North Central at 2 p.m. Friday.
Bellevue was one of the hottest teams in the state heading into the quarterfinals, but the Seahawks took control early, forcing the Wolverines to rally.
"They played their guts out," Chief Sealth coach Colin Slingsby said. "They took it hard, obviously. I will take it hard probably in hindsight, but I told them the last locker room is going to be the hard one for me. This is going to be a hard group for me to say goodbye to."
Nate Sikma finished with 15 points and 13 rebounds for Bellevue, while Keon Lewis and Charlie Smith each scored 14 for Chief Sealth.
Seattle Prep 42
Guard Tyler Holle scored 18 of his 25 points in the first half as the Braves built a 32-19 halftime lead and never let the Panthers get closer than 12 points after that.
Despite a size disadvantage, Kamiakin outrebounded Seattle Prep, 41-27.
Mitch Brewe led Seattle Prep with 15 points and four rebounds.
Glacier Peak 51,
North Central 41
Sophomore forward Zach Pederson led Glacier Peak with 15 points and 18 rebounds, helping the three-year old school from Snohomish reach the semifinals for the first time.
The Grizzlies (23-4), who beat Bellevue to finish fourth last season, play the Wolverines at 9 p.m. Friday.
North Central (12-13) of Spokane plays Chief Sealth in a consolation game at 2 p.m.
Jack Bonner had 14 points and seven rebounds for the eighth-ranked Grizzlies.
Zac Hill finished with 19 points and nine rebounds for the Indians.
Times staff reporter Mason Kelley contributed to this report.
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