The progression of Colton’s quarterfinal game was writ large on Dalton Patchen’s face.
At first there was a mix of bewilderment and frustration as Cedar Park Christian singed net cords with a white-hot shooting display. But that quickly gave way to something else.
“He just plain got ornery,” Colton coach Ben Aune said. “I don’t think there’s another word for it.”
Cedar Park Christian shot 14 of 22 in the first half (63.6 percent). Whatever the Lions put up at the start of the game found the bottom of the net.
“I started to get mad,” Patchen admitted. “I was working hard to get shots and they were shooting better than I was. The 3s I was taking weren’t falling. I took that personally.
“I just decided that I could get inside and do some damage and that’s what I did.”
The 6-foot-7 center put the Wildcats on his back and carried them to an 80-61 come-from-behind win Thursday afternoon, scoring 35 points, grabbing 14 rebounds and blocking three shots. When he wasn’t rebounding or blocking shots, he was jumping into the backcourt to clog up passing lanes and strip Lions of the basketball. He even blocked and stole an in-bounds pass under the Cedar Park Christian basket.
Patchen scored 19 first-half points, accounting for more than half of the Wildcats offense – despite drawing double- and triple-team coverage in the low post. He either scored or drew the foul.
Meanwhile Cedar Park Christian’s shooting percentage came back to earth.
“I told them that (Cedar Park Christian) wasn’t going to keep shooting the ball like that,” Aune said. “They looked at me like I was crazy at first, but that’s what happened.”
Colton trailed by just six points at intermission, and a Patchen tip-in gave the Wildcats a 56-54 lead after three quarters. The fourth quarter turned into a romp as Colton shot 60 percent from the field (15 of 25) for the second half.
Jake Straughan finished with 26 points for Colton while Austin Meyer added 12 points, but more importantly drew an important second-half defensive assignment.
“I made a defensive switch in the second half,” Aune said. “I put Austin on their best player, Eric Matson. He was killing us in the first half by getting open looks at the basket. I don’t think he had a single open look like that in the second half and that’s because Austin did a great job shutting him down.
“It was just a question of getting a different body type on him, and Austin made it work.”
Matson finished with 20 points for the Lions. Ben Reidy added 10.
“Our goal is to win a state championship – that’s been our goal since I got here as a freshman and it’s still our goal,” Patchen said. “As far as we’re concerned, every game we play in is a loser-out game because we want to be playing on Saturday night and the only way to do that is to keep winning.”
Colton advances to play Shorewood Christian in the second of two semifinals today at 5:30. Pomeroy faces Neah Bay in the opening semifinal at 3:45.