It's the fifth consecutive year the Abes' state run has been halted by a Seattle school. The Fighting Irish did the job 69-51 in the opening round.
TACOMA — O’Dea’s boys basketball team proved it can handle a bullish inside-attacking team.
How about one with sharpshooters galore?
Paolo Banchero anchored the paint for the Fighting Irish on Wednesday in their 69-51 first-round victory over No. 6 Lincoln of Tacoma in a Class 3A first-round matchup in the Tacoma Dome. Banchero, the No. 6-ranked 2021 hoops prospect in the nation by 247Sports, struggled offensively, but had 10 rebounds and seven blocks to go with his nine points.
Paul Johnson continued his hot shooting from O’Dea’s regional win over Stanwood by making 5 of 7 three-pointers for a game-high 15 points in this one. Noah Williams had 10 points, nine rebounds and four assists.
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Now O’Dea prepares for a 3:45 p.m. matchup Thursday in the state quarterfinals against No. 4 Marysville-Pilchuck and University of Washington signee RaeQuan Battle.
Banchero played AAU with Battle this past summer.
“We got to get out on their shooters,” Banchero said. “Raquan is one of the best shooters in the state, in my opinion, and they got a couple other shooters. So just get out on shooters.”
That will be opposite of Lincoln, the seven-time Pierce County League champions who tried throughout Wednesday’s game to force action inside with Colorado football signee Jayden Simon, who had six points and 14 rebounds.
But Lincoln made just 29.9 percent of its shots, including 7 of 31 (22.6 percent) in the first half with O’Dea running to a 35-19 lead by halftime.
So the Abes went into the locker room staring at five consecutive state tournament appearances with a loss to a Metro League school. It lost to Rainier Beach in last year’s state semifinals and to Nathan Hale in the semifinals two years ago.
“That league is tough,” first-year Lincoln coach Ryan Rogers said. “They get state-quality games every week up there, but O’Dea is a great team and coach (Jason) Kerr has been doing this for a long time. He has his guys ready every time.”
Now the Irish are headed to the quarterfinals for a second consecutive season after losing to Garfield last year.
Banchero had five of his blocks in the first half.
“They weren’t scared,” Banchero said of Lincoln. “Most teams I would say get a little timid when they come inside on me. But they weren’t scared. So I just stood straight up.”
But he’s hoping his offense comes around Friday. Banchero went 2 for 10 from the floor.
Not that offense isn’t a struggle for most their first day at the Tacoma Dome. That might work out to the Irish’s advantage with Marysville-Pilchuck not getting to experience it Thursday.
“It’s definitely good to get a feel for it,” Banchero said. “I didn’t play that well, but a lot of other guys stepped up, which is great because now they’re used to it, and now I got to get used to it. So just come out and get ready for that quarterfinal game.”
O’Dea led by as much as 27 points in the second half, even with standout guard John Christofilis having to watch from the bench in a walking boot.
“Having some players hurt, it’s that mentality of next Irish up,” O’Dea assistant coach Lee Adams said. “Other guys step up and if you get the opportunity you have to make the most of it.”