With their best player Tony Miller on the bench for most of the first half because of foul trouble, Woodinville stemmed the tide and fought back for a 58-57 win over No. 6 Kentwood to earn a trip to the semifinals Friday at the Tacoma Dome.
TACOMA — Woodinville faced plenty of adversity the past two seasons, winning a combined four league games. So when the No. 7 Falcons found themselves in trouble early into their first-ever appearance in the Class 4A state tournament, they never flinched.
With its best player, Tony Miller, on the bench for most of the first half because of foul trouble, Woodinville stemmed the tide and fought back for a 58-57 win over No. 6 Kentwood to earn a trip to the semifinals Friday at the Tacoma Dome.
Woodinville plays Davis at 3:45 p.m. and Richland, which lost 59-54 to Davis, faces Kentwood at 9 a.m. in a consolation game.
“We’ve talked about that opportunity, or that situation, all year long,” Falcons coach Mark Folsom said of playing without Miller, who led KingCo in scoring and rebounding. “I tell you what, our guys stayed together. Our chemistry is just unbelievable. I told the guys before they took the floor, somebody’s going to step up and have a big game (today).”
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And in the fourth quarter, no one was bigger than Lance Coomar. Woodinville (19-6) trailed by as much as seven, 37-30, late in the third quarter and momentum was fully with Kentwood (23-4). Coomar, though, nailed a three-pointer as time expired at the end of the third quarter to cut the Conquerors lead to 39-37.
Then a few possessions into the fourth, the senior hit another big three to give the Falcons a 42-41 lead they wouldn’t relinquish the rest of the way. And with six seconds remaining, Coomar hit two free throws to give Woodinville a 58-54 lead that sealed the game.
“It’s difficult just because we’re not used to the court, obviously, we’ve never played there before,” said Coomar, who had a team-high 17 points. “After warm-ups I convinced myself I was feeling good, I started pulling it in the game and then once one goes in, they start to fall in after that.”
Kentwood made two crucial mistakes down the stretch. With just more than three minutes to play, Malik Sanchez came up with a big block. The senior celebrated with some choice words, though, and was assessed a technical foul.
Miller, who played the entire second half after just 2:40 on the court in the first, made the two free throws, and then hit another pair in the ensuing possession. It went from a one-point game to a 50-45 Falcons lead.
Sanchez had a chance to make it a one-possession game with 22.9 seconds left after he was fouled on a three-point attempt. The senior was only able to hit one, though, allowing Woodinville to hold a 56-51 lead.
Kentwood was able to get within 56-54 with 14.6 left on a Sanchez layup, but Coomar hit the free throws to make a buzzer-beating three-pointer by Darius Lubom, who had 18 points, inconsequential.
“We were right there,” Kentwood coach Blake Solomon said. “We just didn’t execute.”