No. 19 cost the Sehome Mariners.
All game Sehome weathered River Ridge’s offensive rebounding ability. The Mariners time and time again overcame second and third scoring chances from the Hawks.
But with 34 seconds remaining, and in spite of allowing River Ridge 18 more shots than Sehome had, the Mariners were still in position to escape their Class 2A State Tournament quarterfinal with a win.
With Sehome leading 52-51, Sehome’s Leif Anderson drove the lane and misfired on a 12-footer with less than 10 seconds to go. Hawks guard Kobe Key rebounded the ball, pushed it across midcourt and deep into Sehome’s key before kicking a pass out to River Ridge’s Jason Kananin, who was alone wide open along the left baseline.
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Kananin confidently drilled the triple — River Ridge’s 19th extra shot — and ended the Mariners’ state-title dream.
“Instead of calling a timeout, they took the first open look, and they hit it,” Sehome coach AJ LaBree said. “We kind of got caught watching opposed to getting back and guarding somebody. That kid, (Kananin),was hitting shots all night and shot with confidence. He was wide open, so all we could do was hope it didn’t go in.”
Sehome had two seconds left to navigate the length of the court and score, but Langston Engle’s halfcourt shot fell well short, as the Mariners suffered a heartbreaking 54-52 quarterfinal loss Thursday, March 5, at the SunDome in Yakima.
The loss sets the Mariners up with a consolation game against Mark Morris at 9 a.m. Friday, March 6.
“Everything points back to those offensive rebounds,” said LaBree, who was coaching against his Evergreen State College coach, John Barbee, for the first time. “We were scoring at a decent rate, decent percentage. We shot free throws well, shot 3s, shot 2s. We scored. It was the fact they got (19) more shots, and unfortunately it was that last (19th) one that put us away.”
Second-chance opportunities burned Sehome. The Mariners, who were actually taller than River Ridge, were outrebounded 40-29. But the Hawks hauled in 22 offensive rebounds, corralling 51.2 percent of their missed shots.
Sehome’s zone was efficient in stopping River Ridge in the halfcourt, but it certainly didn’t prevent the ultra-athletic Hawks from getting to the offensive glass.
“They are athletic, and they are good, but there is now way we should be giving up 22 offensive rebounds in any game,” LaBree said. “Bottom line is they outworked us. They outfought us.”
Anderson led the Mariners with 13 points, Marcus Montag, who banked in a huge 3 late in the game to put the Mariners in front 52-49 with 1:40 to go, added 12 points off the bench and Leighton Kingma finished with 11.
Kananin, who kept the Hawks in the game at certain points with timely triples, finished with a game-high 16 points on 5 of 10 shooting from beyond the arc. River Ridge’s LaBrandon Price recorded eight points and 11 rebounds.
The game was a riveting back-and-forth battle throughout, featuring 12 lead changes, and neither team led by more than six points during the entire contest.
Kingma and Montag got the Mariners going early, scoring all 10 first-quarter points before two second-quarter 3s from Anderson helped Sehome build a 26-22 halftime edge.
Kananin converted two of his five 3s in the third quarter to pulled River Ridge back to within one point, 40-39, entering the final period.
The Hawks led 46-42 after Price scored with 4:55 remaining, but Sehome went on a 7-0 run during the next 1:52. Engle started the scoring with a layup, and Kingma followed with a 23-foot 3-pointer and a pair of free throws that gave Sehome a 49-46 advantage.
“Basically, are you going to tuck your tail and be sad about it?” LaBree said when asked what his message was to his team after the game. “Or are you going to try to come home with a trophy? We still have a chance to do something really special this year.”