Boys basketball: Spartans silence Wolfpack

Few prep teams each year know when their seasons will end — those who never had a shot at the playoffs and those who make it to the final day of the state tourney.

For the rest, the end can come as a shock.

Sequim’s Wolves, the No. 4 seed at the West Central District tournament, saw their state tourney dreams evaporate in two close contests last weekend, eliminated at the hands of Foster’s Bulldogs and Sumner’s Spartans.

“They really enjoyed each other — they played hard for each other,” Sequim coach Greg Glasser said. “Some of the best practices we had were at the end of the season. We got better as the season progressed. (At the end) we lost three in a row, but to very good teams.”

After clinching the Olympic League’s No. 2 seed and fourth district seed overall, Sequim had a chance to clinch a regional berth against Foster on Feb. 19, but Bulldog freshman Isaiah Lewis scored 13 of his game-high 19 points in the second half to help Foster edge Sequim, 67-64.

Glasser said Sequim focused on keeping the Bulldogs from controlling the paint but sacrificed too much on the outside.

“Foster played very well and shot  the ball very well in the first half from the perimeter,” he said.

Sequim jumped out to an 18-13 lead after one quarter but the Bulldogs nabbed a 31-30 lead by halftime. After several ties and lead changes, Foster edged ahead 48-46 early in the fourth quarter and never trailed after that.

“Transition in the first half killed us — that lead went away very quickly,” Glasser said.

Post Erik Christensen led Sequim with 17 points, going 8-for-14 from the field and sinking his only 3-point try. Alex Barry had 15 points and seven rebounds while Anthony Pinza and Vance Willis had 10 points each.

Foster came into the tournament with the lowest seed (No. 12) but topped No. 5-seeded Renton, No. 4-seeded Sequim and No. 2-seeded Bremerton, taking third place at the tournament.

“We came in expecting a dogfight,” Glasser said. “We don’t look at the seeds, we look at the team and game-plan for them. Anyone that advances out of that first round is going to be tough.”

Needing two wins in the consolation bracket, Sequim matched up with Sumner, a team they topped in last year’s district semifinals.

This year the Spartans turned the tables, eliminating Sequim from the postseason with a 55-47 victory at Tacoma’s Bellarmine Prep High School on Feb. 21.

Spartan Riley Bruil scored 10 of his 20 points in the final quarter, but it was the first quarter that spelled doom for the Wolves. Sumner took a 17-9 lead after the first frame and never led by less than five points the rest of the way.

“We just weren’t able to close down on their shooters,” Glasser said. “I think our guys turned up the intensity a notch (after that first quarter). We played them straight up the rest of the way.”

Christensen scored 15 points and Pinza added 11 points and five assists in their final game in a Sequim uniform.

Sumner held Barry, Sequim’s leading scorer, to just eight points and Rory Kallappa, Sequim’s No. 2 scorer, scoreless.

“They are very-well coached, very fundamentally sound,” Glasser said of Sumner.

The Spartans went on to beat Clover Park for the fifth and final berth to regionals.

In all, three of the four teams from the Olympic League fell short of a regional berth; only league champion Bremerton, who finished fourth, advanced.

Looking ahead

Friday’s game marked the final game in a Wolf uniform for SHS seniors Christensen, Kallappa, Pinza, Jesse Francis and George Johnson.
Glasser said he’d already begun to think about the 2014-2015 season.

“You really don’t (replace those seniors) — they’ll all be greatly missed,” he said. “Each (new) team you coach you mold into what they already are.”

Glasser credited his junior varsity squad for motivating the varsity squad to play at a high level. This year’s Wolves went 13-3 in league play, finishing second to Bremerton.
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