By the way they were shooting the basketball, it was obvious from the get-go the Stadium High Tigers were not afraid.
In fact, they embraced the moment – their first appearance in the Class 4A West Central District boys’ playoffs since 2007. And by their runner-up finish in the Narrows 4A, they got to host comeback-minded Jefferson of the SPSL North.
Riding a hot scoring wave in the second half, the Tigers ran away for a 67-40 victory in Tacoma on Wednesday night – their first playoff win since 2001.
Stadium (15-6) moves on to face another SPSL school – Curtis, which won the league.
Eric Anderson-Connolly led the Tigers with 17 points. Backcourt mate Jordan Powers 13. The two combined for 17 of Stadium’s 22 points in the first 11 minutes of the second half.
“I continually told Eric Andeson-Connolly, don’t wait for somebody to get open, just drive … and attack pressure,” Stadium coach Doug Cocke said. “He rose to the occasion.”
And after Powers sank a 15-foot turnaround jumper with 5:03 to go, the Tigers led 50-29.
“It was one of those games, they seemed to make everything they shot, and we had a tough time making baskets,” Jefferson coach Kyle Templeton said. “That is a good team. We’ve played some good teams this year, and that is a good team. They are physical. They are strong. They play hard.”
Falling behind early has become a regular occurrence for the Raiders, who roared back from double-digit deficits to nab improbable wins in the past few weeks.
And after trailing by 16 late in the first half, Jefferson cut it to 30-22 on Danny Park’s basket to cap a 7-0 Raiders’ run at the 5:17 mark of the third quarter.
Corey Glackin-Coley stopped the run with an inside basket for the Tigers. And when Jefferson’s Joshua Duckworth missed a corner 3-pointer on the Raiders’ end, Anderson-Connolly called his own play – and sank a deep 3-pointer to push the Tigers’ lead back to 35-22.
“I called a fade screen for myself,” Anderson-Connolly said. “My shot was feeling good.”
Stadium finished the game making 25 of 51 field-goal attempts, including an scorching 14-for-23 in the second half – and all in front of a home crowd that was ready to for a big victory.
“It is huge for the school,” Cocke said. “What a crowd. I saw teachers I had never seen before – this year and in a long time.”