10:23 PM: We’re at the Tacoma Dome, where the West Seattle High School boys have just lost to Capital, 48-41, at the state 3A basketball tournament, and that wraps a strong season for head coach Keffrey Fazio and team. They made a big comeback in the late third quarter/early fourth, but then fell behind again and couldn’t regain the lead. Photos and game report after we get back to HQ.
ADDED EARLY THURSDAY: The game’s leading scorer, Capital’s Chris Penner (26 points), announced himself right at the start, with two 3-pointers putting the Cougars ahead 6-0 within the first few minutes of the game. #24 Abdullahi Mohamed was the first to get on the scoreboard for WSHS.
Until mid-quarter, the Wildcats’ early going also saw them struggling with rebounds, limited to one shot per possession. One of those shots was a beauty, #22 Nuh’Kosi Roberson‘s three.
Not long after that, #4 Roman Barnet‘s basket tied things up at 8-8. West Seattle kept pace for a while, with contributors including #5 Vladimir Salaridze.
Foul shots by #32 Maar Rambang put the Wildcats ahead by quarter’s end, 15-12, and they added to it as the second quarter began.
But Capital methodically battled back as the second quarter proceeded, and had a three-point edge by the half, 21-18. They held the advantage until WSHS launched a monumental comeback late in the third quarter. When West Seattle bottomed out at a 10-point deficit with a minute and a half left in that period, they quickly halved it on a Roberson basket and a Barnet 3. A little over a minute into the final quarter, West Seattle had a one-point lead, and things stayed close for a little while.
Capital, however, toiled to keep a lid on the Wildcats. They weren’t entirely successful – there was an electric exchange mid-quarter when a Capital 3 was quickly matched by Roberson sinking one of his own, tying the score again – until another Cougar 3.
That seemed to deflate West Seattle a little, and Capital added another two points, putting WSHS five back at the point where the clock becomes an enemy. One more Roberson 3 rekindled hope at 1:40, with the Cougars’ lead down to two, until yet another 3 put the lead back to a tough-to-erase 5 points with :13 to go.
The Wildcats had no choice but to foul, and the resulting foul shots took the score to where it ended, 48-41.
The WSHS sportsmanship award went to Roberson, one of the Wildcat seniors who can be proud their high-school careers ended with the team’s second trip to state in three years.