By Michael Carman
Peninsula Daily News
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Sumner even wears purple and gold as its official school colors, just like the Wolves.
“When you play a team like Sumner, one that is efficient and disciplined and doesn't make a ton of mistakes, you really have to capitalize when they give you extra possessions and we had a tough time doing that tonight,” Sequim coach Greg Glasser said after Friday's game.
The Wolves started slow, missing their first six shots on offense, and also had difficulties closing out on the Spartans' shooters and spotted ninth-ranked Sumner an early 8-0 lead.
“We started out flat and that's going to hurt you at this time of year,” Glasser said.
Sequim settled down, getting buckets from Erik Christensen and a 3-point basket by Alex Barry to trail 17-9 after the first quarter.
The Wolves clamped down on defense in the second quarter, holding Sumner scoreless for the first 5:41 of the period and only allowing the Spartans to put five points on the scoreboard.
Six-foot-eight reserve post Josh McConnaughey helped spark Sequim with two blocks and a steal as he and 6-foot-6 Christensen teamed to protect the rim.
Unfortunately, the Wolves couldn't take advantage of the hard work, tallying just six points of its own in the second quarter to trail 22-15 at halftime.
Sumner's lead ranged from as low as five points to as high as 10 in the third quarter as the two teams traded baskets and converted free-throw attempts.
Trailing 37-30 late in the third period, the Wolves had chances to cut the lead to five entering the fourth quarter.
But they were called for an over-and-back violation following an errant pass with 30 seconds to go, and point guard Anthony Pinza missed a breakaway layup attempt just before the buzzer after cleanly picking the pocked of a Sumner player.
George Johnson opened the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer for the Wolves, but Sumner's Riley Bruil hit for five straight points to give the Spartans a 42-33 lead with 6:12 left.
Bruil led all scorers with 20 points, 10 of those coming in the fourth quarter.
The Spartans lead climbed to as high as 12 points, 47-35 with 4:04 to play, but Sequim battled back to 51-46 with 1:51 remaining after Johnson screened out two Sumner players, allowing Pinza to connect on a trey from just right of the top of the 3-point line.
Sequim played tough defense on the next possession and after Barry rebounded a Sumner miss, Pinza drove the lane and was fouled with a chance to make it a one-possession game with 48.7.
His first free throw rattled out, but the second hit home to make it 51-47.
The Wolves couldn't force a steal on the next inbounds and Sumner cashed on 4 of 5 free-throw shots in the final 35 seconds to seal the win.
Christensen led Sequim with 15 points, Pinza had 11, all of them in the second half, and Barry ended up with eight points.
Christensen also had five blocks, tied for the team lead with McConnaughey, and seven rebounds. Barry had four blocks and seven rebounds.
The Wolves finish the season with a 15-7 record and a runner-up finish in the Olympic League.
Glasser rued the chances his team missed out on, but said he'll miss the opportunity to coach this team — particularly seniors Christensen, Pinza, Johnson, Rory Kallappa and Jesse Francis — even more.
“Of course we're going to miss their talent, their leadership, their height, their work ethic,” Glasser said of his departing seniors, “but we'll miss them as people much more.
“This is a great group of kids.”
Sumner 55, Sequim 47
Sumner 17 5 15 18— 55
Sequim 9 6 15 17— 47
Bruil 20, Johnson 17, Birrer 7, Pearson 7, Carnahan 4.
Christensen 15, Pinza 11, Barry 8, Johnson 7, McConnaughey 4, Willis 2.