Sequim's boys basketball team found the one team standing between them and coming home with state tournament hardware was an old nemesis: the North Mason Bulldogs.
Brett Skogstad scored 20 points and John Fullington added 16 as the Bulldogs beat Sequim 48-30 on Friday morning, the Wolves' second loss in three days at the class 2A state tournament in Yakima.
The defeat ended an improbable run for an inexperienced Sequim team that started off 7-13 and won a pair of elimination games to become the only sub-.500 team in the state tourney.
"They've gotten here by playing together,"
Sequim coach Greg Glasser said after Thursday afternoon's win against Tumwater. "Our kids have done it all year long. I'm just so proud of them."
The Wolves (11-16) looked like they might take North Mason to the wire after closing a nine-point halftime gap to just four midway through the third quarter. But North Mason, behind Skogstad's sharp perimeter shooting and Fullington's 6-foot 6-inch presence inside, rebuilt the lead to nine entering the final frame.
That's when Sequim's shooting went cold. The Wolves missed all 16 shots in the fourth, scoring only on a pair of free throws. The Bulldogs stayed hot, outscoring Sequim 11-2 in the final eight minutes.
Ary Webb and his brother Corbin led the Wolves with eight points each. Sequim couldn't overcome their inaccurate shooting from three-point range, though, missing 24 of 26 attempts.
The Wolves were looking for their first top-eight finish at state since 2001, when they placed eighth in the state 3A tourney.
Earlier this season, North Mason beat Sequim twice, but both were close contests. On Dec. 9, the Bulldogs edged the Wolves 61-57 in Sequim. In early February, the Wolves fell 59-47 in Belfair.
Sequim stays alive, tops Tumwater
Eight minutes in, it looked like the Wolves might be two-and-done.
However, a resilient Sequim squad turned a five-point deficit into a 12-point win Thursday, giving the Wolves their first state tournament win in eight years and giving them a shot at the medal round.
The Wolves (11-15) topped Tumwater 47-35, setting up a consolation bracket semi-final game against North Mason Friday morning at 10:30 a.m.
Ary Webb scored 18 points and grabbed eight rebounds but it was his foul-troubled absence that proved to be the turning point for Sequim.
Webb, a senior combo guard, helped lead a Wolves charge that turned a 7-2 first-quarter deficit into a 27-21 lead by the end of the third when he picked up his fourth personal foul.
"We had a bit of a lead,"
Sequim coach Greg Glasser said. "In my head, it was, 'Let's take the air out of the ball. Maybe we can survive until we can get Ary back in there.' The kids did not just survive, they spread it out, were real patient and got some lay-ups out of it."
Junior John Textor scored most of his 17 points in the fourth quarter to give the Wolves a cushion and helped them escape elimination.
"The things that John does, we're just mesmerized," Glasser said. "We have to go back to film to see he really did it."
On the other side, after a decent start, Tumwater went ice cold. The Thunderbirds shot just 13-of-62 (21 percent) from the field and an agonizing two-of-26 (8 percent) from three-point range.
"We talked about who the shooters were (and) we defended them a little better (than last game)," Glasser said. "Our kids, they showed great composure when they got down. I told them it was going to be like a Mike Tyson fight. They threw some big punches and we got down (7-2) in the first quarter.
"(We) started to figure out how to break the press. We didn't allow a lot of second (chance) shots in the second half."
Clarkston too much
in opening state game
Hardly a hearty welcome.
Clarkston's Bantams proved too tough in the class 2A state tournament opener for Sequim, knocking down a tourney record seven three-pointers in 10 tries in a 67-47 win on March 11.
Trey Sobotta led Clarkston with 16 points, sinking four three-pointers in the process.
Sequim kept it close for more than two quarters, down just 28-23 at halftime and getting within a point. But Clarkston drained three three-pointers in a row to take a 48-34 lead after three quarters.
Textor led Sequim with 17 points while senior Ary Webb was held to 12 points on 6-of-16 shooting.
1. Squalicum (4-0)
2. Burlington-Edison (3-1)
3. River Ridge (3-1)
4. Clarkston (3-1)
5. North Mason (3-1)
6. Fife (2-2)
7. Toppenish (2-2)
8. Quincy (2-2)
Did not place:
Mark Morris (0-2)
Reach Michael Dashiell at email@example.com.