by MICHAEL DASHIELLSequim Gazette
By a hundred points or by just one, a win is a win.
Sequim’s boys survived a home playoff thriller last week, escaping with a one-point win against Evergreen on Feb. 10 to qualify for the West Central District playoffs.
Two days later Sequim fell to White River in the sub-district No. 9/No. 11 seeding game.
Sequim is slated to take on No. 6-seeded Renton at 6 p.m. today, Feb. 16, at Lakes High School in Tacoma.
The winner of that first-round district game takes on No. 3-seeded Kingston at 6 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 18, while the losing squad takes on the loser of the No. 7/No. 10 game (Port Angeles vs. Sumner)
White River junior guard Billy Kiel scored 19 points — none so damaging as a late steal and basket that broke a tie in the final minute — as the Hornets edged Sequim 48-43 in a sub-district seeding game in Poulsbo on Feb. 12.
Nick Camporini hit for 20 points, including five 3-pointers, but the Wolves struggled from the field, sinking just 16 of 48 shots (33 percent) and missing five of nine free throw tries.
Corbin Webb and Gabe Carter had strong games; Webb chipped in with 10 points and three steals while Carter added nine points, four assists and six blocks.
Sequim senior guard Kenny Meier scored just two points Thursday night — but they came on the biggest basket of the night, one that saved his Wolves from playoff elimination.
Meier scored on a put-back with 5.2 seconds remaining and Evergreen’s Christian Sainz missed a lay-up at the buzzer, giving Sequim (15-7) a 61-60 victory and sending them to the West Central District tournament next week.
The Wolves overcame a 15-point deficit in the third quarter to end Evergreen’s season.
“Win or lose, I’m proud of the fact we battled back,” Sequim coach Greg Glasser said. “They don’t quit. They don’t ever give up.”
Evergreen (7-13) had built a lead as large as 15 points by the early third quarter, but unraveled quickly in front of the raucous Sequim home crowd Thursday night.
The Wolverines saw their lead dissipate to six at the start of the fourth quarter and to just four with 1:30 on the clock.
That’s when Sequim’s Webb brought the Wolves within two, with a jumper that rattled around the bucket and in. Meier nabbed a steal on Evergreen’s next possession and Jayson Brocklesby hit one of two free throws to cut Evergreen’s lead to 60-59.
With a chance to rebuild the visitors’ lead, Evergreen’s Tuan Le missed the front end of a one-and-one free throw chance. Sequim called a time-out with 11 seconds on the clock to set up a final play.
The Wolves got the ball into the hands of Webb, who took a jumper in the left corner over two Wolverine defenders. The shot came up short, but Meier was waiting near the basket for the rebound and lay-up.
“It was (in) slow motion,” Meier said. “I was thinking, ‘That’s short. That’s short. That’s short.’ It came right to me.”
Evergreen got the ball down court on a three-quarter-court-length throw that Sequim’s Tim Guan tipped away. Evergreen’s Le recovered the ball and lofted a three-point shot that missed badly, but it fell into Sainz’s hands. His lay-up attempt at the buzzer rimmed off.
“I thought that lay-up was going in,” Glasser said.
Sequim fans stormed the court to celebrate with their Wolves.
“In the first half we just over-extended ourselves,” Sequim guard Evan Hill said.
“We committed some silly fouls,” Glasser said. “Hopefully our kids learned something from that.”
Down 13 points at halftime, the Wolves regrouped and refocused in the locker room.
“I told the guys at halftime, ‘This is not the way we want to end our season,’” Glasser said.
With the switch of halves came a reversal of the foul disparity; after shuffling the lineup to make up for several starters with three fouls, the Wolves found themselves the beneficiaries of the referees’ calls.
“The refs started noticing the hacking,” Hill said, leading to a plethora of Sequim free throws.
“They (Evergreen) didn’t know what to do with it,” Hill said.
While Wolverines coach Tony White gesticulated futilely on the sidelines, Sequim’s trio of Brocklesby, Carter and Webb consistently drew fouls or worked inside for easy lay-ups.
Reserve Tim Guan, playing much of the game for the foul-encumbered Camporini, hit a key 3-pointer at the end of the third quarter, drawing Sequim within six.
Sequim closed to within five when Evergreen 6-foot 5-inch post Alex Campbell was called for a foul and drew a technical foul, further fueling the Sequim comeback.
On the strength of two free throws from Sainz, Evergreen built a lead back to five before Webb scored on three of Sequim’s next four possessions, including the basket that rattled in and out and in again to draw within two points at 60-58, setting up the final 30 seconds of drama.
“I’ve played on a lot of teams — I’ve never had fun like this,” Meier said.
Brocklesby led Sequim with 17 points and added five offensive rebounds. Webb scored 16 points while Carter added 15 points, four assists and nine rebounds.
Sainz led Evergreen with 17 points.
Sequim’s Wolves needed a break on Feb. 8 — several, actually — to earn the Olympic League No. 2 seed.
But after falling to Port Angeles and seeing the Olympic Trojans top Klahowya that night, the Wolves end their league campaign fourth among the league’s 2A schools.
Not exactly the playoff scenario the Wolves were hoping for, particularly coming off a loss on the road to their top rival.
“This stings,” Glasser said, following Sequim’s 57-49 loss.
Ian Ward scored 15 points and Tanner Phair chipped in with a dozen off the bench to lead Port Angeles to victory.
Sequim’s Webb led all scorers with 16 points.
After battling Port Angeles in a double-overtime loss earlier this season, Sequim’s boys squad figured to be in for another battle. That’s exactly what they got.
The Wolves and Roughriders parried mightily for three quarters, and following Sequim forward Brocklesby’s lay-up, Sequim crept within three points of P.A. at 41-38 with 3:51 remaining.
But Roughrider Colin Wheeler responded with a basket and free throw on the next play, and the Wolves simply could not find the basket after that. Port Angeles hit 14-of-20 from the free-throw stripe in the fourth quarter to cap the victory.
Both teams sank three 3-pointers on the night and were 17-of-41 from the field; the Riders, however, held an eight-point advantage at the free throw line and, in the end, an eight-point advantage on the scoreboard.
Sequim held a one-point lead after one quarter but it could have been much more, after missing several shots from within 10 feet and giving up some offensive rebounds on the defensive glass.
“We did give up too many second shots,” Glasser said. “And too many turnovers. They were turned into buckets fast.”
The Wolves also had to do without shooter Camporini, Sequim’s top three-point threat, for much of the game after he picked up his fourth foul early in the third quarter.
Brocklesby and Carter scored 11 points each while Camporini added five points.