SPORTS: Port Townsend loses in state tournament; consolation game today at 5 p.m.

YAKIMA — The Port Townsend boys basketball team finally dug a hole it

couldn’t get itself out of at the Class 1A state tournament.

The Redskins, who had overcome eight- and 17-point deficits on the way

to their second straight state semifinal, fell short of their first

championship game appearance in 16 years, losing 48-31 to King’s at the

Yakima Valley SunDome on Friday night.

“We missed a lot of shots,” Port Townsend coach John Stroeder said.

“They are a good team. I give them credit. They beat us, but it wasn’t

like we were going up against [last year’s 2A semifinal opponent]

Burlington-Edison. We had a really legitimate shot to get to the finals.

“I don’t know, I think the substitution [pattern] wasn’t good enough.

The guys were just spent again.”

The loss drops Port Townsend (22-4 overall) into the third-place game

for the second year in a row against Bellevue Christian (19-7) today, Saturday, at

5 p.m.

“We still got another game left,” Stroeder said. “Third place would be

very nice.”

History repeated itself on the third day just as it had the previous two

for the Redskins.

Just like last year, they rallied from big deficits to advance two days

in a row, with the final win coming in overtime late Thursday night. And

just like last year, the Redskins ran out of gas against a top flight

opponent in the semis, unable to overcome a 25-15 halftime deficit in a

double-digit loss.

Stroeder attempted fell on the sword afterward, blaming himself for the

Redskins’ undoing.

“We were tired,” Stroeder said. “When you get in the state tournament

you’ve got to play your bench. You’re playing three straight days in a

row. They work so hard, and we were playing six, seven guys is all.

You’ve got to play more guys than that. You’ve got to give those guy a

break once in a while, but I didn’t do it.”

Three of his players — Joe Aase, Walker Wilson and Parker McClelland —

were in the top four in minutes played in the tournament going into

Friday’s games.

They still managed to jump out to a 13-9 lead midway through the first

quarter against King’s (20-8), sparked by seven of McClelland’s

team-high 14 points.

Yet no sooner than the Redskins took the lead that King’s responded with

a 10-0 run to close out the quarter. Knights sharpshooter Ryan Hoff

scored eight of his game-high 16 points during the surge, including a

pair of his six 3-pointers, for a 19-13 lead.

“We weren’t playing defense like we should have [against Hoff],”

Stroeder said. “We were trying to go under [screens]. You can’t do that,

he’s too good.”

Port Townsend flamed out in the second and third quarters when the tempo

slowed down, scoring only eight points as King’s built a 35-21 lead

heading into the fourth.

“They played really smart,” Stroeder said of the Knights. “The same

things happened to us last year when we played Burlington-Edison. We had

the lead in the first quarter, after that it was all downhill from

there. It’s almost the same scenario.”

The Redskins would cut the lead down to 10 at 39-29 after Dakotah Pine

scored a 3-point play with a little less than four minutes to go, but

they would score only two points the rest of the way.

“They are just a tough team,” McClelland said. “They are used to playing

in big games and winning at the state tournament and it shows. They did

a really good job on defense, threw us all out of sorts. We couldn’t

really get any good shots, and we couldn’t make them when we did get

them because we were so flustered.”

Port Townsend hit just 27.8 percent of its shots (10-of-36) from the

field, including just 1-of-5 from long distance.

McClelland, who scored 28 points on 9-of-18 shooting in the Redskins’ miraculous comeback win

the night before, was limited to 5-of-15 by the Knights’ constant double

teams.

“I’m really happy with how my kids defended today,” King’s coach Bill

Liley said. “[McClelland] was the focus of our whole gameplan, was

making sure we could stop him and stop Dakotah Pine, who is one of the

quickest guards out there, from getting in the lane.”

The Knights also negated what had been a strong point for Port Townsend

early in the tournament, out-rebounding the Redskins 33-22. Prior to

Friday night, Port Townsend had the best rebounding percentage (61) in

the tournament.

“They were just flying around,” Stroeder said. “It’s tough to make up

when they are getting that many shots and we’re only getting one shot

[every time down the court].”

Pine had seven points and three assists for Port Townsend, despite

battling foul trouble. Wilson, who had been a revelation the past few

weeks for Port Townsend with his increased production, was limited to

two points and three rebounds in limited action and eventually fouled

out with 6:20 left in the game.

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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