BELLINGHAM - Every time Bellingham made a run to try and capture the lead, Burlington-Edison had the answer.
And the answer was a 72-62 win for the Tigers on Friday, Jan. 25 at Bellingham High School.
With the win, the Burlington-Edison's boys' basketball team (12-6, NWC 7-3) gains some much-needed breathing room in the race for the final playoff spot in the Northwest Conference. The Red Raiders (10-9, NWC 5-5), though, saw their hopes of a playoff berth take a dramatic hit with the loss.
But as mentioned, this contest was one defined by runs by both teams.
At the onset of the second quarter, Burlington-Edison, leading 17-13, pulled off a 12-3 run behind senior post Jeremy Canniff. Canniff managed seven of his 12 points in the run including a final layup off an offensive rebound.
Bellingham couldn't close the 13-point gap heading into the half despite scoring 10 points in the final 4:39, including back-to-back-to-back field goals by Kailen Hayes, Tristan Hurley and Nick Zeegers.
But in typical fashion, Burlington-Edison's Isaac Davies hit back-to-back 3-pointers to end the half, giving the Tigers a 39-26 advantage and the momentum heading into the third.
"We just try to get through the storm," Davies said. "Once we get through it, we just try to come out with another big run."
And a storm is what was waiting for the Tigers when the Red Raiders hit the floor in the third quarter.
Bellingham upped its defensive pressure, deflected balls and dominated on the glass in the first 5:49 of the third, getting the game to 46-44 Burlington-Edison after a steal and layup by Kyle Redmond.
But just as the Tigers did all night, they answered with 3-pointers by Davies, who finished the game with 23 points on 7 of 10 from the field, and Rudy Mataya to gain an eight-point lead.
The back-and-forth battle continued into the fourth, but Bellingham couldn't stop Burlington-Edison's big men Canniff and Austin Von Herbulis, who finished with nine points combined in the final quarter.
Davies hit four free-throws in the final minute to seal the win.
Redmond finished the game for Bellingham with 14 points, eight rebounds, four steals and two assists in a well-rounded effort.
Bellingham coach Ken Crawford believes games like this are ones that inevitably define the character of a team, a team he was proud to have Friday night.
"I told these kids after the game, 'you just love these types games, you love the intensity,'" he said. "Those runs are a sign of an experienced team. ...But we have some unfinished business, some more games to play this season."
Burlington-Edison 72, Bellingham 62
Burlington-Edison 17 22 15 18-72
Bellingham 13 13 21 15- 62
Burlington-Edison: Rudy Mataya 9, Isaak Davies 23, Daron Browning 6, Jeremy Canniff 12, Austin Von Herbulis 10, Dalton Schwetz 2, Carlos Navarro 7, Brandon Stransky, Tarren Lautenbach. Team totals: 25-48, 14-20 72.
Bellingham: Cyrus Davies, Kyle Redmond 14, Darice Haywood , Alex Check 5, Tristan Hurley 3, Nick Zeegers 5, Aaron Burke, Marques Reynolds 10, Dante Check 9, Kailen Hayes 16. Team totals: 25-60, 12-18 62.
3-ptg: Burlington-Edison 6 (Davies 4), Bellingham 5 (Check 3). Rebounds: Burlington-Edison 28 (Von Herbulis 9); Bellingham 35 (Redmond 8). Fouls: Burlington-Edison 16, Bellingham 18. Turnovers: Burlington-Edison 11, Bellingham 12.