Sehome coach AJ LaBree admitted he wasn’t sure how his Mariners would react to playing a 9 a.m. game less than 24 hours after their state-title hopes were dashed on a River Ridge 3-pointer in the closing seconds.
LaBree received his answer less than four minutes into Sehome’s consolation game against No. 1-ranked Mark Morris.
“I didn’t really know what to expect,” LaBree said. “We met about it last night, and the guys seemed to have a positive attitude and really wanted to win, and they proved themselves early by setting the tone for the game.”
The Mariners from the start looked determined to guarantee themselves a trophy with a win, and Mark Morris, arguably one of the favorites to win the tournament, appeared flat after falling to Anacortes in its Thursday opener.
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Sehome played with high-energy, shot well, displayed much-improved rebounding and staved off a furious late comeback bid to earn a 64-61 Class 2A State Tournament consolation-round win over Mark Morris on Friday morning, March 6, at the SunDome in Yakima.
The Mariners face Olympic next at 8 a.m. Saturday, March 7, for a the right to bring home either a fourth- or sixth-place trophy.
“In any tournament, you have to forget about that last game,” said Sehome’s Tanner Clark, who scored 14 points, recorded a game-high seven assists and was pivotal in the Mariners’ ability to overcome the Monarchs’ late press. “You have to come out a little upset, a little mean and mad. We did a real good job of that and cleaned the boards a lot better than we did yesterday.”
Sehome’s Leif Anderson scored a game-high 19 points with four 3s, and Leighton Kingma added 18 points and five rebounds. Both players helped the Mariners get going early, scoring 12 of Sehome’s 17 first-quarter points.
Rebounding was a major concern entering the game with Mark Morris’ 6-foot-9 Geordi Morrow and 6-5 Grant Gibb, especially after the Mariners were outrebounded 40-29 against River Ridge, but Sehome committed itself early and often to crashing the boards.
Usually a reserve, LaBree opted to start Sam Carroll, and the 6-foot-4 forward made a nice impact. All together, Sehome outrebounded Mark Morris 29-24. What stuck out in LaBree’s head, though, was a first-half block out by Elijah Andrushenko in which the senior blocked his man clear into the basketball support standard behind the hoop.
“That’s what we talked about,” LaBreesaid . “I said, ‘Be physical on block outs. I don’t want you to hurt anybody, but if you get a foul that’s fine.’”
Powered by Kingma’s seven points, the Mariners raced out to a 12-4 lead and took a 17-11 advantage into the second quarter after Anderson drilled the first of his four 3s with 2:33 left in the first.
Sehome’s 2-3 zone effectively neutralized Mark Morris’ offense throughout, but only allowing seven points to the Monarchs in second quarter helped the Mariners to build a comfortable 33-18 halftime edge. Leading 22-15, Sehome closed the quarter on an 11-3 run, which was highlighted by a baseline triple from Anderson. The senior guard was fouled on the play but was unable to convert the four-point play.
The Mariners went ahead 42-24 in the third, taking their biggest lead of the game when Kingma made a layup with 3:48 left in the quarter, but the Monarchs ended the period on a 12-5 scoring run to give themselves a chance.
Seemingly every time Mark Morris got close in the fourth, a Sehome player provided an answer.
Leading only 49-43 with 5:59 to play, Clark stole the ball from Monarchs guard Will Burghardt before driving the length of the floor for a much-needed lay-up.
Later, leading 53-46 after another Clark lay-up, the Mariners extended their advantage to 59-46 in one possession.
Langston Engle drained a baseline 3 with 4:47 to go, and Morrow was called for an off-ball foul after the shot. Sehome retained possession, in-bounded the ball to Kingma, and the 6-6 junior was fouled on a made lay-up. He converted the three-point play with a free throw.
“They were knocking down free throws, and their guys were stepping up and hitting shots,” LaBree said, “so honestly, we just had a big enough lead and were able to knock down just enough shots.”
Mark Morris during the final four minutes implemented a stingy 2-2-1 press that gave Sehome fits. The Monarchs methodically trimmed the Mariners’ lead down to 64-59 with 1:17 to play.
But Clark’s strong ball handling was essential as the Mariners desperately clung to their lead.
“We just had to settle down and play as a team,” Clark said. “You can’t do it on your own. We had to move the ball around and once we got to the middle we broke it, and that allowed open shots. I’m just happy we won.”
Mark Morris had a final chance to tie the game, trailing 64-61 with 21 seconds left, but Sehome played tremendous perimeter defense, forcing the Monarchs to settle for a poor final shot that fell short.
Sehome 64, Mark Morris 61
Mark Morris: Levi Poole 0, Nick Rinck 3, Spencer Sweet 13, Evan Troy 8, Grant Gibb 13, Will Burghardt 22, Justin Rohl 0, Geordi Morrow 2. Totals: 16-42 23-26 61.
Sehome: Langston Engle 6, Logan Deboo 0, Elijah Andrushenko 0, Sam Carroll 3, Leif Anderson 19, Duncan James 0, Marcus Montag 4, Tanner Clark 14, Leighton Kingma 18. Totals: 26-47 3-8 64.
3-point field goals — Mark Morris: 6 (Burghardt/Sweet 2); Sehome: 9 (Anderson 4, Kingma 3). Rebounds — Mark Morris: 24 (Troy 8); Sehome: 29 (Clark/Kingma 5). Assists — Mark Morris: 8 (Gibb 3); Sehome: 11 (Clark 7). Fouls — Mark Morris: 15; Sehome: 23. Turnovers — Mark Morris: 12; Sehome: 17.