YAKIMA — The group that perfected the comeback may have authored is masterpiece on Thursday night.
Down by as many as 17 points to begin the third quarter, the Port Townsend boys basketball team rallied for a 58-50 overtime victory in its Class 1A state quarterfinal against Seattle Academy at the Yakima Valley SunDome.
The Redskins move on to face King’s (19-7) tonight at 9 p.m. for the right to go to Saturday night’s 1A state championship at 9 p.m.
Thursday night’s victory was the Redskins’ second straight comeback win of the tournament, having rallied from eight down the night before against Granger, and fourth the last year in state tournament play.
Last year, Port Townsend rallied from 9- and 10-point first-half deficits on the way to a sixth-place finish.
Senior post Parker McClelland scored eight of his game-high 25 points in the extra frame as the Redskins (22-3 overall) advanced to the state semifinals against for the second straight season for the first time in school history.
“Truthfully, I didn’t now if we had it in us,” Port Townsend head coach John Stroeder said.
“I thought we could get it within striking distance, but the kids just never gave up.”
Port Townsend charged out of the locker room five minutes before the second half was set to begin, looking like a team determined to overcome the 33-16 first half hole it had dug itself.
After McClelland drained back-to-back 3-pointers to begin the third quarter, the comeback was on.
Port Townsend took its first lead of the game early in the fourth quarter after Elan Solvik, who finished with 11 points, hit the first of three fourth-quarter 3’s for a 39-37 edge.
The lead would change hands three times, with two ties, before the last of Solvik’s 3s gave the Redskins a 47-44 edge.
Seattle Academy’s Adrian Brandon tied the score on the next possession with a 3-point play on a swooping right-handed drive with 2:16 left.
Port Townsend stalled for the final shot after that, but Solvik’s corner 3-pointer clanged off the front rim, sending the game to overtime.
The Cardinals (14-12) took an early 49-47 lead in the extra frame on a jumper from Brandon, the team’s leading scorer at 19.
Yet McClelland immediately answered by dropping in two straight baskets, first on a 16-foot jumper then on an eight-foot pull up in the lane, to give Port Townsend a 51-49 edge.
McClelland drained 4-of-7 free throws, thanks in part to a technical on the Cardinals coach Michael Claxton, down the stretch to ensure the victory.
“There was no adjustments, they just earned it on their own,” Stroeder said.
“They are the smartest team in the state academically, and they might have proved it tonight.”
Sports writer Matt Schubert can be reached in Yakima at [email protected]