Eastside Catholic’s lead and momentum disappeared in a frenetic couple minutes late in the fourth quarter, and its chance to play for the Sea-King 3A District tournament was not looking good.
The No. 6 Crusaders regrouped, though, calmly took back the lead and then held No. 2 Bellevue to just two points the rest of the way to win the district semifinal game on Thursday, 55-47 at Bellevue College.
“Our last eight games or so have all been really close games, so we know how to come together, pull through adversity, stuff like that,” Nathan Christie said. “So we came together. We worked too hard to let them come back and take it from us. So we pulled together and pulled it out.”
Bellevue (20-3) did not lead until Sharif Khan hit a pair of free throws midway through the fourth quarter that gave the Wolverines a 45-44 lead. Bellevue applied full-court pressure following the free throws, forcing a 10-second backcourt violation. After trailing by as many as 14 points in the second half, the Wolverines seemingly had all the momentum.
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Eastside Catholic (20-5) didn’t panic, though. The Crusaders got a stop on defense, a foul on the offensive end sent Zach Wallin to the line, and a pair of free throws gave Eastside Catholic back the lead.
The rest of the game was all Crusaders. They scored the next six points to take a comfortable 52-45 advantage and put the contest out of reach.
“We have some senior leadership,” coach Bill Liley said. “Our seniors are the guys who have been through this the last three years, they got everybody calmed down, along with the coaching staff and we were able to do the things we were coached to do.
“When you’ve been in enough of these games … a lot of these kids have been through these wars before and so they’re able to, as you say, weather the storm. But the biggest thing for us is just sticking together.”
Christie scored eight of the final nine Eastside Catholic points and finished with a game-high 16. Mandrell Worthy added 14 points for the Crusaders, which will play Saturday at 6:30 p.m. for the district championship against Rainier Beach.
Bothell 50, Roosevelt 45
Bothell kept its season alive by staving off a late Roosevelt comeback attempt, holding on for a 50-45 win in the KingCo 4A tournament.
The Cougars (15-9) earn the District 2 No. 3 seed and will play at Edmonds-Woodway, the No. 3 team from District 1, with the winner earning a regional berth. Roosevelt’s season comes to end.
The Roughriders almost overcame a 13-point fourth quarter deficit, using a 10-0 run to cut Bothell’s lead to 46-43. Bothell hit enough free throws, though, to hold off Roosevelt (13-11) down the stretch.
Josh Martin led Bothell with 24 points, 17 rebounds and seven blocks.