Curtis won its first 4A state championship since 1971 with a 60-56 victory.
TACOMA — After one of Curtis guard Dominic Robinson’s particularly artful finishes, the Curtis student section chanted a truth that could have been applied throughout the Class 4A state tournament:
“You can’t stop him. You can’t stop him.”
The same could be said for the entire Curtis team, even though Jackson made every effort to do so — and nearly succeeded. Robinson and the sixth-ranked Vikings weathered a hard-charging Jackson comeback and held on in the final seconds for a 60-56 win late Saturday night in the Class 4A state championship game.
Curtis (27-2) won its first boys basketball state title since 1971.
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“We wanted this from the beginning,” said Robinson, who was named tournament MVP. “We’ve always wanted this. We got it now, and it’s here.”
Robinson again led the way for the Vikings, scoring 20 points. But his supporting cast also made plenty of plays down the stretch. Isom Brown scored 16 for Curtis, while Andre Lewis and Dominique Jordan delivered a handful of big plays late.
Every time No. 2 Jackson (26-1) got close — and that happened a lot in the final quarter — Curtis responded just enough to stay in front. Jackson never led in the fourth quarter, but got within a point on multiple occasions.
Fittingly, it was Curtis’ defense that made the play of the game. With the final seconds winding down and Curtis up three, Jackson got the ball to Jason Todd, who turned up the court and looked to get off a potential tying three-pointer.
But Curtis stole the ball and the Vikings held on for a dramatic win.
“Going down the stretch, the last minute or two, it was going to come down to defense,” Curtis coach Tim Kelly said. “And that’s what we hang our hat on. That’s what we pride ourselves on.”
Just when it looked like Jackson was out of it in the final minutes — the Timberwolves trailed by six with 1:25 to play — Dan Kingma gave his team new life.
Kingma tried to will Jackson to a win, scoring the final 10 points for the Timberwolves. His two free throws with nine seconds left cut Curtis’ lead to 57-56.
But Jordan hit two free throws with nine seconds left that gave Curtis a 59-56. Kingma, Jackson’s best three-point shooter, fouled out on the play and Todd couldn’t get a shot up.
It didn’t look like Curtis would need to go through such a nail-biter for much of the game, though. The Vikings led by nine at the end of the third quarter. Jackson went on a 5-0 run to start the fourth, and it was close from that point on.
Jackson’s fourth-quarter rally started with one familiar name and one unlikely source. Todd, the Timberwolves’ leading scorer, has done it all season, but Marcus Blake, a reserve guard, entered with a season high of seven points.
Blake scored five in the fourth quarter, including a guarded three-pointer as the shot clock expired that cut Curtis’ lead to 44-41 with 4:51 left.
Connor Willgress hit two free throws for Jackson that cut Curtis’ lead to 46-45 with three minutes left. But Brown and Lewis each answered for Curtis by posting up and scoring.
“We didn’t allow them to take the lead ever,” Kelly said, “and we came down here and executed when we had to.”
Curtis’ defensive pressure was as good as advertised in the first half. The Vikings forced Jackson into 10 first-half turnovers that turned into 12 points for Curtis.
Jackson struggled to break down Curtis defensively and trailed by 12 at halftime. The Vikings, in other words, were their swarming, pesky selves.
Jackson entered the night looking to become the first Class 4A team to go undefeated in a season since Ferris of Spokane in 2007 and 2008. But the Timberwolves’ furious rally fell short just after the clock struck midnight.
Jayson Jenks: 206-464-8277 or email@example.com
CURTIS — Dominic Robinson 8-15 3-4 20, Tory Causey 2-2 0-0 4, Andre Lewis 4-8 1-7 9, Jayson Williams 2-4 0-0 4, Isom Brown 6-9 4-7 16, Dominique Jordan 0-4 4-4 4, Jaurence Chisolm 1-1 1-4 3. Totals 23-43 13-26 60.
JACKSON — Dan Kingma 4-9 8-9 18, Jason Todd 2-6 6-8 10, Brian Zehr 7-7 0-3 15, Marcus Blake 2-5 0-0 5, Connor Willgress 2-5 2-2 6, Kyle Graff 0-2 0-0 0, Riley Waite 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 18-36 16-22 56.
Three-point shooting — Curtis 1-2 (Jordan 0-1, Robinson 1-1); Jackson 4-14 (Graff 0-2, Kingma 2-4, Todd 0-2, Zehr 1-1, Blake 1-4, Willgress 0-1). Rebounds — Curtis 26 (Lewis 9); Jackson 23 (Todd 9). Assists — Curtis 6 (Jordan 3); Jackson 9 (Todd 4). Steals — Curtis 9 (Robinson 4); Jackson 8 (Kingma 3). Blocked shots — Curtis 0; Jackson 3 (Zehr 2).