The Indians were displeased with the officiating during their 61-56 semifinal loss to the Vikings.

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YAKIMA — Rashaad Powell cried foul, in more ways than one.

After Renton High School’s 61-56 loss to Selah in the semifinals of the Class 2A state boys basketball tournament Friday at the Yakima Valley SunDome, Powell was emphatic in his belief that the victory didn’t slip away, but was taken away.

“I’m eternally and extremely proud of them for their efforts,” Powell said of his players. “They did everything they needed to do to win the game. No disrespect or discredit to who we played, but I don’t feel like the team on the court beat us. I feel like the officials that officiated the game took away the opportunity for us to win the game.”

He lamented not only the 23-10 difference in fouls whistled, which resulted in a 13-4 made free-throw advantage for Selah, but what he felt was a rules violation with 10.8 seconds left and Renton trailing just 57-56.

Vershan Jackson had just fouled out and Powell called his players over to confer during the 15 seconds that is supposed to be allowed in that situation, awaiting his substitution. But an official waved the players back on the court and said Powell already made the substitution. Powell explained that the sub at the scorer’s table at the time was not intended for Jackson.

Selah senior Elijah Pepper sank both free throws in the double-bonus for a 59-56 lead. Powell continued his argument and made an official protest. Members of the tournament games committee met on court and denied the protest.

“The game was not equally officiated, and the rules were not applied correctly,” Powell said.

After about a 15-minute delay, Renton had a chance to tie, but O’Shae Barquet’s three-pointer was just off the mark. Pepper rebounded, was fouled, and made two more free throws — 10 of his 27 points came at the line. Noah Pepper, his sophomore brother, added 21 points as the two dominated.

No. 7 Selah (20-5) advanced to Saturday’s 9 p.m. title game against No. 1 Lynden (25-1), the defending champion. No. 13 Renton (21-9), which had pulled off two upsets to reach the semis, faces No. 5 Pullman (21-6) for third and sixth places at 11:15 a.m.

The Indians were bidding to reach the final for the first time since 1967, when legendary coach Irv Leifer won the last of his four state crowns (all at the big-school level). A third-place finish would be the school’s best finish since.

Senior Demarco Williams did his part to give Renton a chance with 22 points, including the hanging basket that cut it to 57-56 with 37 seconds left. No one else had more than seven. Williams said the team is determined to bounce back for the third-place trophy.

“It’s very important because it hasn’t been done since the 60s,” he said.

Also

  • In a Class 1A boys semifinal, No. 10 King’s was edged by No. 11 King’s Way Christian of Vancouver 43-42. King’s will play La Center in the third/fifth-place game at 1 p.m.
  • Also in the Class 1A boys tournament, No. 5 Seattle Academy was eliminated by top-ranked Lynden Christian 75-39. The Lyncs will play Bellevue Christian on Saturday in the fourth/sixth-place game at 9:30 a.m. BC beat Connell 60-48.
  • The Bellevue Christian girls will also play in the fourth/sixth-place game Saturday. They beat Annie Wright 63-36 and will play Elma at 8 a.m.
  • In the Class 2A girls tournament, No. 4 White River fell to No. 2 East Valley of Spokane 67-26. White River plays Washougal in the third/sixth-place game at 1 p.m.