First, it was a balanced scoring act that led the Timberline Blazers to a regional berth, their first playoff berth past the district tournament since 2004.
And Saturday night, the following night, against Narrows 3A rival Foss, a team the Blazers had dropped both regular-season contest to, it was the defense that took over when it mattered most in a 52-48 victory over Foss at Franklin Pierce High school in the West Central/Southwest bi-district boys’ basketball semifinals.
The Blazers (15-8) will play another league rival – Lincoln – for the district title at 4 p.m. Monday at the ShoWare Center in Kent. Both teams have already secured berths to the regional round of the 3A state basketball tournament. The winner will be the No. 1 seed.
Words were hard to find for many Blazers on playing for a district title, including junior guard Tyler Gartner.
“I can’t believe it,” said Gartner, who finished with 10 points including a pair of 3-pointers. “We’ve come so far this year. We’ve had so many people step up.”
It was a tie ball game at 45-all with 1 minute, 24 seconds left after a 6-0 run by Foss. Brandell Evans’ drive in the lane just before the shot clock expired put the Blazers up 47-45 inside a minute to go.
Timberline led the rest of the way.
Foss High’s Dezmyn Trent Trent led all scorers with 29 points.