The win streak is over, but Wilson High’s season will continue.
Kennedy Catholic toppled the fourth-ranked Rams 65-62 in the finals of the Class 3A West Central/Southwest Bi-District boys basketball tournament Monday at Kent’s ShoWare Center.
“Maybe I jinxed it by saying something to the kids,” said Wilson coach Dave Alwert.
Or maybe Wilson (20-3) ran into an equally hot team in the Lancers, who ran the Tacoma gauntlet of Foss, Lincoln and Wilson in their past three games to the first bi-district title.
Kennedy (20-3) jumped out to a 21-12 lead in the first quarter. Star forward Mitch Penner scored at will, easily clearing offensive rebounds and getting put-backs. Penner finished with 31 points and 14 rebounds.
“We came out strong and I thought we were going to put it away early, but we didn’t,” said Penner. “They are a very scrappy team and got back in it. We’ve been staying composed these last couple of games and we ended up getting the win.”
Wilson fought back, pulling within one point twice in the fourth quarter, but the Rams never tied or took a lead.
“We don’t lose to that team if we learn how to take a punch in the first quarter,” said Alwert. “They jumped on us pretty good. It took us a while to recover.”
Kevin Johnson led the Rams with 21 points, including a 3-pointer with 12 seconds left to make the score 63-62.
After Joe Greaney hit a pair of free throws, Wilson had ten seconds to make a 3-pointer and tie the game. Freshman guard Ivy Smith Jr. had his last-second heave partially blocked.
“I actually thought (Smith) was fouled on the play, but I understand the referee’s point on it,” Alwert said. “It’s a championship game, and they’re going to let the kids play it out.”
Both teams advance to the regional round of the state tournament on Friday at Rogers High. Wilson will play KingCo champion Lake Washington (19-6) at 6 p.m. and Kennedy Catholic meets Mercer Island (21-8) at 8 p.m.
3A GIRLS FINAL
No. 1 Prairie 59, No. 3 Wilson 44: Through the first half, the bi-district final didn’t appear to be a matchup of two of the best teams in the state. At halftime, Prairie led Wilson 15-9 and the teams had combined for 36 turnovers.
“We wanted to show what we can do,” Wilson coach Michelle Birge said, “and we weren’t able to demonstrate that fully tonight.”
The Falcons warmed up in the third quarter, outscoring the Rams 14-5, and took a 29-14 lead into the final period. Wilson finally came alive in the fourth quarter, erupting for 30 points.
But so did Prairie and the Falcons claimed their second straight bi-district title.
Guard Cori Woodward led Prairie with 19 points and Megan Lindsley added 17 points. Standout guard Heather Corral missed most of the first half because of foul trouble and finished with six points.
Wilson guard Kaysha Fox powered the Rams’ fourth-quarter explosion, scoring 15 of her team-high 19 points in the period.
With the loss, the Rams also saw their 16-game winning streak expire. Birge believes her team will grow from this experience.
“I know we are a better team,” Birge said, “and this is not the end of the road for us.”
Wilson and Prairie both advanced to the regional round of the state tournament and will play games Saturday at Rogers High. Wilson will face Cleveland (19-6) at 4 p.m. and the Falcons will take on Juanita (21-5) at 6 p.m.