Finishing in the top four in the Metro League is important. Not only does it give a team a chance to win the league tournament title, but it sets it up for a good seed in districts.
Seattle Prep entered the last week of the regular season tied with O’Dea for the fourth seed in Metro, needing to win its remaining two games to keep its fate in its own hands.
The No. 8 Panthers (13-6) took care of business on Tuesday, holding off a late Franklin run to beat the Quakers 59-54 at home. Seattle Prep wraps up the regular season by hosting a Chief Sealth team that entered Tuesday with just one league win.
“Every year we take things in step, but we would like to do whatever’s necessary to play for a Metro championship and you can’t do that unless you’re in the top four,” Seattle Prep coach Mike Kelly said.
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Eastside Catholic, Rainier Beach and No. 9 Franklin (13-6) have all secured spots in the top four by winning their respective divisions. If Seattle Prep ends the regular season tied with O’Dea — the teams split the two games against each other — Kelly said it is his understanding the teams would play for the fourth seed.
Franklin didn’t make it easy for Seattle Prep on Tuesday. The Panthers overcame a sloppy first half and used a 12-0 run that spanned most of the third quarter and into the fourth to take a 52-38 lead. Vincenco Reiser scored six of his 14 points during the run.
“I don’t know exactly when it was, but about two minutes into the third quarter, all of a sudden we found a little bit of energy and we rode it to the end of the quarter,” Kelly said. “I thought that was really the pivotal moment in the game.”
Franklin wasn’t done, though, ripping off a 13-0 run of its own to get to 52-51 with just more than three minutes to play. Reiser responded with a bucket, though, and Seattle Prep dug down on the defensive side, allowing the Quakers just a free throw and a basket in the final seconds.
Jack Stewart had 14 points, seven rebounds and two blocks for the Panthers. Keith Smith led Franklin with 14 points.