Wednesday’s State 2A Boys Basketball: W.F. West Claws Past North Kitsap in Overtime
CLUTCH: Jordan Thomas Hits Free Throws at End of Regulation, Overtime to Help Clinch Victory
By Matt Baide
YAKIMA — Jordan Thomas stepped up to the free throw line with 1.5 seconds left in regulation and his Bearcats down 57-56 to North Kitsap in a loser-out State 2A basketball tournament game.
“Honestly, stay calm,” Thomas said about his one free throw to tie the game. “I was sitting there just staying calm. I’m thinking in my head, just shoot it with confidence and that’s what I did. That’s what I had to do.”
Thomas made it to send the game to overtime. In the extra four-minute period, Thomas did it one more time, making the second of two free throws to give W.F. West a 60-59 win in overtime and send the Vikings home.
W.F. West moves into the double elimination bracket and will face Selah on Thursday at 9 p.m. in the Sundome.
“We feel so good. We get to sleep in a little bit and enjoy this moment and it’s a heck of a challenge for tomorrow that we really are excited to tackle,” W.F. West coach Chris White said. “We’re just really excited and so proud of the kids — down 14 at half and just the fact they just didn’t quit, just kept fighting. I’m just really proud.”
Brandon White recorded a double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds and Thomas scored 16 points. Bailey Cooper was the other Bearcat in double figures with 10.
Connor King led North Kitsap with 14 points and Kai Warren added 12 points.
W.F. West led 10-9 after the first quarter. North Kitsap found its shooting touch in the second quarter, scoring 25 points to take a 34-20 lead at halftime.
The Bearcats began the comeback in the third quarter, with scoring 22 points to cut the North Kitsap lead to 45-42 going into the fourth quarter.
North Kitsap led 55-54 with 47 seconds left in the fourth, and Thomas and White both came up short on layups with the Vikings grabbing the rebound.
After two Viking free throws for a 57-54 lead, Thomas made a quick basket to cut the lead to 57-56 with 4.7 seconds left in the game, but the Vikings turned the ball over on the inbounds play.
“The kids were just fighting like crazy, (I’m) just so darn proud of them. I kind of felt just a calm in some ways, I just tried to let it flow a little bit and the kids just clutched up,” Chris White said. “Just the energy the kids played with, that turnover was so huge when they threw it out of bounds. That was such a gift of hard work, I guess you could say, because we were really defending hard on that.”
Thomas got to the foul line with 1.5 seconds left and was off the mark on the first free throw.
“It’s very good because you go from the mentality of, I’m going to be honest, losing, cause when I missed that layup, I really believed that we were going to lose,” Thomas said. “Switching to the mindset of, OK, we’re still in this, next play. That was very big for me and hopefully a confidence booster because I’ve been lacking on free throws.”
Overtime saw no field goals, but Cooper hit a pair of free throws to match a pair of North Kitsap free throws, and with the Bearcats having the final possession, Thomas got fouled and went back to the free throw line.
“Same exact thing. The entirety of the game, just stay calm, make the right reads, make the right plays, hit the shot,” Thomas said.
Thomas made the second free throw, and the W.F. West crowd and team went crazy as the final buzzer sounded.
W.F. West takes on Selah, the highest-ranked team still in the playoffs, in another 9 p.m. game on Thursday. The Vikings are 22-1 this season, with the lone loss coming against Zillah before an 11-game win streak heading into state.
BEARCATS 60, VIKINGS 59 (OT)
North Kitsap 9 25 11 12 2 —59
W.F. West 10 10 22 15 3 —60
North Kitsap (59) — Olmsted 10, Zinn 3, Warren 12, Hecker 6, Humphrey 10, Chmielewski 4, King 14
FG: 22 of 45 —.489 FT: 9 of 15 —.600 Reb: 23 (Humphrey 5)
W.F. West (60) — Wollan 1, Thomas 16, B. White 18, C. White 4, Cooper 10, Dobyns 5, Speck 6
FG: 20 of 55 —.364 FT: 14 of 24 —.583 Reb: 39 (B. White 12)