Now Sehome must prove it belongs in the Class 2A state boys’ basketball tournament — after many fans felt the Mariners had already played well enough to get there.
With the score tied in what several coaches and players called “a classic game,” Anacortes senior guard Joe D’Amelio scrambled after the rebound of a missed Sehome shot with five seconds to play. The quick, experienced D’Amelio did the only thing he could — he raced down court and scored at the buzzer to beat Sehome 61-59 before a deafening crowd reaction on Monday, Feb. 16, in the Class 2A District 1 semifinals at Mount Vernon High School.
Anacortes (17-5) clinched a berth in the state regional round Feb. 27-28. The Seahawks will face Northwest Conference champion Lynden (18-4) on Friday night on the same court for the district title and a seeding advantage.
Sehome (16-7) still has a shot at the state regional round. The Mariners will play Wednesday at 8 p.m. in a loser-out game on the same court against free-wheeling Sedro-Woolley (14-7), which eliminated Cedarcrest 83-63 behind 27 points from Jackson Price and 20 by Anthony Cann.
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Senior guard Leif Anderson played what was likely his best overall game in a fine career for Sehome. He scored 28 points while shooting 9 for 15 from the field with five 3-pointers.
Anderson’s 3-point attempt with five seconds left bounced off to D’Amelio, but Sehome coach A.J. LaBree was happy it was Anderson who had the courage to try a potential game-winner.
“I’ll take Leif shooting any time,” said LaBree of Anderson, who also had four steals and six rebounds. “He was open, so that was the shot to take.”
Anacortes limited Sehome to only 33 shots from the field, but the Mariners made 18 as Anderson hit all of their 3-pointers. Tanner Clark, Leighton Kingma and Langston Engle, all of whom seemed to play as hard as they could, combined for 29 points. The Mariners displayed remarkable focus under pressure at the line, hitting 18 of 21 free throws including 6 for 7 in the second half from Kingma.
Ty Johnson scored 19 for Anacortes and Jordan Neville had 18 points. D’Amelio scored both of his baskets and seven of his eight points in the fourth-quarter frenzy.
Sehome rallied from a 56-50 deficit and took a 58-56 lead on two free throws by sophomore reserve Logan Deboo. But Neville responded with a free throw with 38 seconds left. Anderson gave Sehome a 59-57 lead with about 20 seconds to go with a free throw, but Neville’s jumper set up D’Amelio’s dramatic full-court dash as the large crowd went nuts.
Anacortes 61, Sehome 59
Sehome: Langston Engle 8, Logan Deboo 2, Elijah Andrushenko 0, Sam Carroll 0, Leif Anderson 28, Duncan James 0, Marcus Montag 0, Tanner Clark 11, Leighton Kingma 10. Totals: 18-33 18-21 59.
Anacortes: Jake Richards 0, Ty Johnson 19, Jordan Neville 18, Daniel McInerney 5, Trystan Lowry 0, Jacob South 4, Joe D’Amelio 8, David Rodriguez 6. Totals: 21-43 13-19 61.
3-point field goals — Sehome: 5 (Anderson 5); Anacortes: 6 (Johnson 3). Rebounds — Sehome: 18 (Kingma, Anderson 6); Anacortes: 24 (D’Amelio 6). Assists — Sehome: 8 (Clark 4); Anacortes: 8 (Johnson, D’Amelio 3). Fouls — Sehome: 20; Anacortes: 19.