PORT ANGELES — The final approach was a little wobbly, but Forks brought the game home for a safe landing in a 48-45 win over Rochester to claim third place in the Port Angeles Holiday Tournament.
“Sometimes you can’t read a ton into a game,” Spartans coach Rick Gooding said. “A 3 p.m. Saturday game on winter break — let’s not act like the world is crumbling because we didn’t play our best that we’ve ever played. I will take this away, we fought, we scratched and we found a way to win.”
Up 40-32 early in the fourth quarter after Jake Jacoby’s behind-the-back pass through the lane hit Seth Johnson for a layup, the Spartans allowed the Warriors to catch up and tie the game at 42-all with 3:22 to play, but Forks never allowed Rochester to take a lead.
A layup by Jacoby on a two-on-one break with Johnson gave the advantage back to Forks at 44-42 with 2:03 to play. Cort Prose broke out of a trap to reverse the basketball for a bucket inside by Braton Armas, only to see a Rochester 3-pointer leave the Spartans clinging to a 46-45 lead with less than a minute to go.
Out of timeouts and with possession under their own basket, Forks’ Iziah Morton was left all alone and the big man made a crucial layup to give the Spartans a 3-point lead with 11 seconds to go.
“That was a huge play, I thought he might tip over when he started moving, but that’s part of that resilience I was talking about,” Gooding said. “Somehow, some way, we figured it out. We were out of timeouts and that wasn’t necessarily how we drew it up, but we got the job done.”
Rochester’s Keegan Goldrick got a deep look at a tying 3-pointer with 2 seconds left but the shot rimmed off and Forks triumphed.
“I felt like nothing necessarily went our way, but we found a way to win,” Gooding said. “We didn’t shoot the ball very well, we made too many turnovers, but we had some guys step up and make some plays for us.”
Cort Prose led Forks with 12 points on four 3-point baskets. Seth Johnson was a beast defensively in the first half in the Spartans half-court press and 2-3 zone defenses and was aggressive in attacking the rim, scoring nine points and finding his teammates for open looks.
Armas scored nine and rebounded and defended well inside.
“Braton has really come along andmade strides from last year to this year,” Gooding said. “He’s come a long ways and it’s great to see.”
Jacoby’s length forced a number of Rochester turnovers and he hit a big 3-pointer with 4 seconds remaining in the third quarter to give Forks a small cushion heading to the fourth.
Cole Baysinger also hit a deep buzzer-beating trey to put the Spartans up 26-23 at halftime.
“Cole right before half and then Jacoby at the end of the third, we won by 3, those shots were six points, so those were difference makers for us,”Gooding said.
Forks (8-2) will begin Evergreen League play against Elma (1-9) on Tuesday, Jan. 2.
Forks 48, Rochester 45
Forks 14 12 12 12— 48
Rochester 8 15 9 13— 45
Forks (45) — Prose 12, Armas 9, Johnson 9, Baysinger 5, Jacoby 5, Morton 2, Archibald 2, Reaume 2, A. Flores 2, Baar, T. Flores.
Rochester(48) — Goldrick 20, Erickson 12, Robinson 7, B. Smith 3, Team 3, Riley 2, Lollar 1.