Kevin Durant was unavailable.
George Gervin has been on vacation for years.
Those are NBA types. And trying to devise a game plan for Bothell High star Zach LaVine must feel like trying to stop, or at least slow down that level of a basketball player.
Olympia High coach Luke Salme called the Cougars junior the best high school player in the state beforehand, and his opinion won’t certainly change after Bothell beat the Bears, 63-54, in a Class 4A regional game at Auburn High School.
Playing in front of a handful of college assistants in the building, LaVine poured in 26 points – just above his scoring average of 23.4 ppg – to lead Bothell (17-9) to its first trip to the Tacoma Dome since 1997.
“Zach LaVine is the real deal,” Salme said. “In every game he plays in, he is probably going to be the difference maker – and he was the difference maker.”
Perrion Callandret was no slouch for Bothell. He is nearly as quick off the dribble as LaVine, and added 17 points.
“They have been playing consistency all year long,” Bothell coach Ron Bollinger said.
Alex Johnson led the Bears (20-6) with 16 points – 10 coming in the first half. Olympia started the game on a 9-2 run, getting easy inside baskets.
But once the Cougars went to a 2-3 zone defense, Olympia began settling for 3-pointers, and going through dry spells.
Callendret’s 3-pointer with 3:40 remaining in the first half gave the Cougars a 24-22 lead – all while Olympia went scoreless for more than three minutes. Bothell would lead the rest of the way, building leads as large as 13 points.
LaVine made nine of 13 field goals against constant double teams.