YAKIMA – Almira/Coulee-Hartline freshman Derek Isaak picked the right night for a coming out party at the State 1B boys basketball tournament at the SunDome.
And he picked the perfect moment in that Thursday night to keep his team’s title express on track in a 57-50 quarterfinal win over Tulalip Heritage.
Isaak nailed a 3-pointer with 2 minutes, 57 seconds remaining and boosted his team’s composure as the Warriors (21-4) held on to advance to tonight’s early semifinal against Tri-Cities Prep.
The slender Isaak set a tournament record with seven 3-pointers and finished with 26 points and six rebounds to assure ACH a state trophy for the first time since 1997. His 3-pointer gave his team a 10-point lead it needed every bit of down the stretch.
“As a coach, I’m happy we had a nice bailout tonight,” ACH coach Scott Isaak said. “As a father, I’m just unbelievably proud.”
The bailout the elder Isaak referred to may have salvaged a potential championship season. Tulalip, down by 18 points at one point, cut the deficit to 54-50 with 1:52 remaining on a 3-pointer by Shawn Comenote.
The Warriors contributed mightily to their own plight, turning the ball over 14 times in the second half. Hitting 5 of 9 shots from behind the 3-point line mitigated that some, but Tulalip was playing well enough – two of the Hawks’ five 3-pointers came in the final 3 minutes of the game – that the offset was enough to make it a nail-biter.
Cusick 51, Sunnyside Christian 49: Spencer Shanholzer’s running leaner from the right side banked in just before the buzzer as the Panthers (20-5) knocked the two-time defending champion Knights into the loser’s bracket.
After the Knights missed a go-ahead attempt with 8 seconds left, Cusick set up needing to go the length of the floor. After grabbing a pass near the 3-point line, Shanholzer had to swerve to avoid an SC defender. He lunged to the basket just inside the baseline and his one-hander fell through.
Cusick (20-5) will pay Moses Lake Christian in tonight’s late semifinal at 8 p.m.
Shanholzer scored 18 points and Riley Bauer had 12 for Cusick.
Rosalia 63, Lummi 53: The Spartans advanced in the consolation bracket by running off 21 unanswered points after trailing 47-35 late in the third period.
Rosalia (17-7) will play in today’s 12:30 p.m. consolation semifinal. A win there would position the Spartans for their first basketball state trophy since 1981.
Nathan Richards, the Spartans’ 6-foot-5 center and vocal leader, seemed to sense something before there was something. He was shouting encouragement on the court and in a timeout huddle at the rest of the team and at the team’s junior star, Jim Maley.
“C’mon, Jim! It’s our game! It’s our game!” he shouted.
Maley responded with 15 second-half points and finished with 28. He started the rally with a field goal.
D.J. Brown next stole the ball and Richards scored. Richards blocked one of three shots he had in the fourth quarter – and Maley scored again. Zach St. John’s steal set up Maley for a third straight shot.
After a Richards steal, Garrett Kerle, the Spartans’ lone senior, drilled a 3-pointer and, in front of a stunned Lummi crowd, the Spartans were in front 53-51.
“Our crowd, the teammates, our coaches … we were just so fired up,” said Maley, who hit 12 for 16 field goals.
Tri-Cities Prep 57, Wellpinit 39: The Jaguars knocked the Redskins into the bracket for fourth and seventh places with a disciplined offense and four players in double figures.
The Redskins will play Tulalip Heritage at 2:30 p.m. today. A win would assure Wellpinit a second consecutive state tournament trophy and a better showing than last year’s eighth-place result in the 2B tourney.
Will Hoppes led TCP with 16 points.
Cody Flett led Wellpinit with 13 points and seven rebounds.
Moses Lake Christian 60, Curlew 43: The Lions used a 14-2 burst midway through the fourth period to pull away from a determined Curlew squad that wasn’t intimidated by the top-ranked team in 1B.
MLC (22-2) will play in today’s 8 p.m. semifinal against Cusick looking to position itself to improve on last year’s third-place finish. Curlew (15-10) will play the loser of that game in an elimination game this afternoon.
Moses Lake’s 6-7 Riggs Yarbro held a small edge in the battle of the big men, scoring 26 points and pulling down 15 rebounds.
Curlew’s Jordan Wakefield (6-9) stood toe to toe with Yarbro, finishing with 23 points and 14 rebounds.