Mount Baker’s boys’ basketball team refused to let its season end on Whidbey Island.
Trailing by six several times throughout the fourth quarter, the Mountaineers fought back. Colton Ranson hit his sixth 3-pointer of the game with 1:20 left in the fourth quarter to give the Mountaineers a one-point lead.
South Whidbey answered with two free throws at the other end before Timothy Soares hit a 10-foot shot with 10 seconds left to put Mount Baker up by one again.
A fadeaway 25-footer from South Whidbey went in and out at the buzzer and Mount Baker was moving on to the third-place game against Sultan on Saturday, Feb. 14, with a 65-64 win over South Whidbey on Thursday, Feb. 12.
Soares, who had a triple-double last week, not only hit the game-winning shot but also scored 29 points while adding 19 rebounds in 32 minutes of play. He went 11 of 18 from the field and 7 of 8 from the free-throw line.
“He was a warrior tonight,” Baker coach Rob Gray said in a phone interview. “He came out and was not going to be denied. ... He had a huge dunk in the first half that got everyone excited and defensively he was really tough.”
The Mountaineers also got another great night from Ranson, who scored 20 points on six 3-pointers. Entering the game, Ranson was only one 3 behind the school record for made shots from beyond the arc. His six on the night gave him a school-record 62 and counting.
Ranson has been particularly hot from deep lately, hitting 21 3s in the last four games.
“He’s shooting the ball really well right now,” Gray said.
The Mountaineers secure a spot in the bi-district tournament but securing third seeding is of utmost importance, Gray said.
At least Mount Baker will have confidence going into the contest with Sultan, having beaten the Turks 57-49 on Monday.
“We just got to play well together and compete hard,” Gray said.
Mount Baker 65, South Whidbey 64
Mount Baker: Keenan Gray 0, Jed Schleimer 0, Mason Bass 0, Colton Ranson 20, Thomas Barbo 0, TJ Bass 14, Grant Balvanz 2, Timothy Soares 29, Engholm 0. Totals: 21-51 17-22 65.
South Whidbey: Mikey 0, Collins 25, Holt 8, Sutton 10, Hannis 6, Heckert 0, Freidman 6, Dow 2, Miller 5. Totals: 22-50 9-13 64.
3-point field goals — Mount Baker: 6 (Ranson 6); South Whidbey: 11 (Collins 5). Rebounds — Mount Baker: 39 (Soares 19); South Whidbey: 19 (Hannis 6). Assists — Mount Baker: 15 (Gray 4); South Whidbey: 19 (Holt 7). Fouls — Mount Baker: 18; South Whidbey: 20. Turnovers — Mount Baker: 9; South Whidbey: 5.