Sunday, February 21, 2016
|MVP Malcolm Rosier-Butler sets up a play in overtime|
Photo by Geoff Vlcek
By Frank Workman
It takes some breaks, as well as tenacity and teamwork, to win a championship.
A lucky bounce. A call going your way. An unlikely player stepping up big at a key moment. Or an unfortunate injury to an opponent's best player, sidelining him for the remainder of the game.
Or any of a hundred moments that happen over the course of a game that, if even one had gone differently, would spell the difference between victory and defeat, elation from dejection.
All of the above were factors in the Shorecrest Scots boys' basketball team overcoming their worst half of the season and outlasting the Squalicum Storm 62-56, in overtime, to win the Northwest District One 2A championship Saturday night in the grand old gym at Mount Vernon High School.
Tournament MVP Malcolm Rosier-Butler led all scorers with 17 points, while Philip Pepple was a menacing defensive presence in the paint.
|Chris Lee for 3!!!!|
Photo by Geoff Vlcek
But it was sophomore Chris Lee who knocked down back-to-back three-point shots early in the overtime period that give the Scots a comfortable lead that they never relinquished.
"The ball came to me and I was open both times. I couldn't not shoot it. It was my turn to help my team," said the modest Lee after the game, as he clutched a strand of the souvenir net all the Scots ceremoniously cut down after the game.
It's likely none of the post-game festivities would have been possible if not for a knee injury suffered in the second quarter by the Storm's leading scorer, Josiah Westbrook. The lightning-quick senior was unstoppable in the first quarter, scoring 11 of his team's 18 points in the opening stanza. With Westbrook on the bench for the entire second half, his knee wrapped in ice, his team lost its leading scorer, its aggression, and, in the end, the game.
With Westbrook leading the charge, Squalicum raced to an 18-6 lead after the first quarter. They extended that lead to 30-14 at the half, as the Scots had trouble competing at both ends of the court.
|Coach Brian Fischer and his wife Amber, along with their boys|
Brayden, newly-adopted-from-China baby Brody, and Caleb.
Photo by Frank Workman
Shorecrest coach Brian Fischer must have lit a spark at halftime, as the Scots came out firing on all cylinders. Rosier-Butler, held scoreless in the first half, scored half of his team's 16 points in the third quarter, and he took the game over in the fourth quarter, scoring eight straight points to give the Scots their first lead of the game, 44-43, with 1:45 to play. It was nip-and-tuck down the stretch, with Rosier-Butler's twisting, turning layup attempt rimming out at the buzzer, forcing the overtime.
"We came out flat to start with, we couldn’t get into an offensive rhythm, and our starters only accounted for 4 first half points," a jubilant Coach Fischer said after the game.
"Credit the Squalicum defense. Our defense kept us in it, yielding only 16 points in the second half after giving up 30 in the first."
"I’m proud of Aubry Victor and Chris Lee for stepping up in a huge way in crunch time. Aubry hit 6 of 7 CRUCIAL free throws and Chris hit two monster 3’s in overtime. Ben Smolen and Simon Acker gave us most of our offense when the rest of the team was struggling in the first half.
"After the game, I told my team that they should be proud of the way they fought back and that when things get tough in the future, they should always know that they have it in them to turn things around."
The Scots take their 16-8 record into this weekend's Regionals, facing short-but-scrappy Steilacoom (16-8) Saturday afternoon at 4, in the Mountlake Terrace gym.
Shorecrest 6 8 16 16 16 62
Squalicum 18 12 6 6 10 56