Their season should have ended five weeks ago. The Garfield Bulldogs were finished. Done. Losers of six straight games, and seven of their...
KIRKLAND — Their season should have ended five weeks ago. The Garfield Bulldogs were finished. Done. Losers of six straight games, and seven of their first eight in conference, there was no reason to believe they’d be playing in March.
But a funny thing happened on the way to last place. The Bulldogs started winning. First one game, then another. And now, here they are, two wins away from a state tournament berth.
Nothing if not survivors, the Garfield boys basketball team persevered again last night, winning its second straight loser-out scrap, a 54-41 decision over Lake Washington in the Sea-King 4A District tournament at Juanita High School.
The Bulldogs (12-10) never trailed, led by double digits for all but a few ticks of the second half, and posted their seventh victory in the past nine games.
Credit chemistry for the turnaround.
“At the beginning of the season, we had a lot of hard-headed guys complaining about playing time,” said senior Ramiyo Bacani, after scoring a game-high 23 points, nine better than his average. “When they started quitting, we started winning.”
Garfield still must win two more loser-out games for the district’s No. 2 seed to state, starting with a showdown against Roosevelt (18-5) at 4:45 p.m. Friday, also at Juanita. It will be the teams’ fourth meeting this season; Roosevelt has won two of three.
“The guys are playing as well as they can play. They’re not a real talented bunch, but they really try and they’ve got a lot of heart,” said Garfield coach Wayne Floyd. “They’re trying now to do what they’re supposed to do to get it done.”
Lake Washington, playing without second-leading scorer Steve Wiseley (15.5 points per game), tallied its lowest point total this season and finished 14-9 overall.
Wiseley did not play for “disciplinary reasons,” according to second-year coach Terry Johnson. His absence no doubt played a role in Lake Washington’s struggles.
The Kangaroos managed only single-digit scoring in each of the first three periods and went scoreless for long stretches to open each half.
Ryan Staudacher, one of the most decorated two-sport athletes in recent Lake Washington history, led the Kangaroos with 15 points in his final high-school game.
Roosevelt 60, Eastlake 51
The fifth-ranked Roughriders saw a double-digit lead reduced to one point midway through the fourth quarter, but Chris Chase came off the bench to score seven of his nine points in the final 3 ½ minutes.
Marcus Williams had a game-high 28 points and nine rebounds in the loser-out game.
A.J. Jergens led Eastlake (12-11) with 21 points.