SPORTS: Port Townsend comes back to win consolation bracket for third place in state

YAKIMA — Dakotah Pine rarely looks for his shot.

In the waning moments of Port Townsend’s third-place game against Bellevue Christian, it found him.

The Redskins’ senior point guard had no problem knocking it down.

Pine swished a 12-foot baseline jumper with two seconds to go in Saturday night’s game, lifting the Redskins to a 47-45 victory over Bellevue Christian and a third-place finish in the Class 1A boys basketball state tournament at the Yakima Valley SunDome.

“That’s the first game winner I’ve ever made in my life,” Pine said “This is what I’ve worked for all my life, so it just felt great.”

The victory clinched the school’s 13th trophy and capped an unprecedented two-year run for the Redskins’ “Super 8” group of seniors.

Port Townsend, which won 23 games each of the last two years, reached the state semifinals twice in a row for the first time in school history after two come-from-behind wins.

Yet rather than head home with the sixth-place trophy, like the Redskins did last year after losing their last two at the 2A tourney, they finished their season on a high note thanks to Pine’s shot.

Of course, it didn’t hurt to have another big game from Redskins senior Parker McClelland.

The 6-foot-5 post had a team-high 18 points and nine rebounds, helping erase the ill feelings from Friday night’s lopsided 48-31 loss to King’s in the semifinals.

“We played really well,” McClelland said. “It would have been a bummer if we had come out and played awful like we did [in Friday’s loss]. I’m just gad we got to go out like this.

“We didn’t get another freaking sixth-place trophy.”

Instead, the Port Townsend’s third-place finish is its highest since the 1993 team took second in the 1A tourney.

It was also the first time the Redskins placed at the state tournament in back-to-back years since 1956-57.

“They’ve really evolved [in the four years I coached them], from rec center basketball to the third place team in the state,” Stroeder said of his eight seniors.

“That was the kind of basketball we played all year. We were under control. We were running our stuff. You couldn’t ask for a better way to win a game, especially for Dakotah. It’s pretty special.”

The final play had actually been designed to go to Parker on the right side of the court.

But with the defense doing everything it could to deny him the ball, the ball swung around to the left until Joe Aase found Pine all alone on the baseline 12 feet from the basket.

Without anyone in his face to distract him, Pine rose up and buried the shot with two second to go, the ball touching nothing but net.

Bellevue Christian got off a full court pass to Chris Pattison after a timeout, but the junior guard couldn’t get the shot off in time.

“It kind of broke down actually,” Pine said of the game-winning play. “I just popped out and I was wide open. I didn’t see anything but the hoop.”

Added Stroeder, “We said, ‘Whoever is open we want to shoot with six seconds in case we miss, so we might be able to get an offensive rebound.’ Everybody just went to Parker, and it left Dakotah wide open. He knocked it down. I’m really glad he made it.”

Pine hadn’t made too many before then, having shot 2-of-8 from the field going into the final play.

He finished the game with eight points and two assists, while fellow senior Elan Solvik had nine points and seven rebounds.

Aase and Walker Wilson, also both seniors, added eight and four points in their final games, respectively.

“We played the way we can for our last game,” McClelland said. “We just went out and played and had fun.

“We just played the way we’ve been playing all our lives. Unfortunately we couldn’t do that the last couple of games [before Saturday]. I’m just glad we went out like this on a high note.”

The lead changed hands 12 times between Port Townsend (23-4 overall) and Bellevue Christian (19-8).

Port Townsend actually trailed 15-10 after one quarter of play, after Jeff Rerucha scored seven of his game-high 19 points.

The Redskins responded with a 12-4 frame for a 22-19 halftime lead.

The two teams battled back and forth in the third and fourth quarters, with Port Townsend going ahead by as many as five after a pair of Pine free throws put the score at 42-37 with 4:25 to go.

Bellevue Christian star David Downs, who the Redskins held to only three points through three quarters, responded with a pair of three-point plays in the last two minutes to help pull the Vikings to within one at 44-43.

After Aase made 1-of-2 free throws, Rerucha drew a foul on the other end and knocked down both freebies, tying the game up 45-45 and setting up Pine’s heroics.

“We really haven’t lost a close game all year,” Pine said. “We just fight until the end and we never give up. I feel confident that whenever we have a close game we have guys that can step up.”

On Saturday night, the final one for this group of eight seniors in red-and-white, it was Pine’s turn.

“There’s no better way I could have finished it, except maybe in the championship game,” Pine said. “That was really the best I could do it.”

(Saturday) Port Townsend 47, Bellevue Christian 45

Bellevue Christian 15 4 15 11 — 45

Port Townsend 10 12 12 13 — 47

Individual Scoring

Bellevue Christian (45)

Iseman 6, Pressey 3, Kats, 4, Downs 9, Stack 4, Rerucha 19.

Port Townsend (47)

Pine 8, Aase 8, McClelland 18, Solvik 9, Wilson 4.

(Friday) King’s 48, Port Townsend 31

King’s 19 6 10 13 — 48

Port Townsend 13 2 6 10 — 31

Individual Scoring

King’s (48)

Berg 7, Hardy 3, Brugger 8, Hoff 16, Talbot 3, Mar 7, Clocksin 4.

Port Townsend (31)

Pine 7, Aase 2, McClelland 14, Solvik 4, Dodd 2, Wilson 2.

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