Warriors lose 4th quarter lead, lose to Scots in district tournament | Boys basketball

By David Pan | Mar 03, 2017
Photo by: David Pan Edmonds-Woodway’s’ Uchenna Acholonu passes the ball during a 3A state regional game against Shorecrest Saturday, Feb. 25, at Bellevue College.

Edmonds-Woodway gave district champion Shorecrest all it could handle in a 3A state regional boys basketball playoff game.

The Warriors led 32-26 at halftime and extended the lead to 8 points early in the third quarter but couldn’t sustain the advantage. The Scots outscored Edmonds-Woodway 48-31 in the second half to prevail 74-63 in the loser-out contest Saturday, Feb. 25, at Bellevue College.

An 8-0 run by the Scots erased the Warriors’ 8-point lead in the third period and the two teams traded leads before Shorecrest ended the quarter ahead 46-44. The Scots made 1 of 2 free throws to extend the advantage to 47-44 early in the final period before juniors Calum Knowles and Michael Epoch connected on back-to-back 3-pointers to give Edmonds-Woodway a 50-47 lead.

Shorecrest’s Malcolm Rosier-Butler quickly responded with a 3-pointer to tie the score and the Scots followed with a 7-0 run to take a 57-50 lead midway through the fourth quarter. The Scots would not relinquish the lead the rest of the game, though the Warriors cut the deficit to 59-56 with 2:50 remaining in the contest. The Scots made 10 of 10 free throws in the final 1:10.

Edmonds-Woodway coach Robert Brown said that his players did all they could to come up with a victory.

“They played their hearts out,” he said. “We played hard and we left it all out there. There are no and’s or if’s.”

Junior Noah Becker led the Warriors (18-6) with 14 points. Epoch and Knowles each added 12 points. Senior Keaton McKay and junior Uchenna Achonlu each contributed 7 points.

Shorecrest’s Chris Lee scored a game-high 26 points and teammate Phillip Pepple added 18 points. In the Scots’ 68-67 win over Edmonds-Woodway during the regular season, Pepple scored a game-high 24 points. Brown credited the solid defensive play of senior Ryan Peterson for keeping Pepple, a first-team, all-league standout, largely in check.

“Our first game, I was shocked how effective (Pepple) was in scoring 24 points,” Brown said. “Usually, Ryan and him have a good game. They have a good battle against each other. Ryan is a very good defensive post player and he usually does a good job limiting him. He did normal Ryan Peterson work.”

This year’s team came into the season with a lot of unanswered questions, such as how the squad would respond to the graduation of two of its top two scorers – David Woodard and Jordan Rice and the transfer of point guard Tre’var Holland.

But led by first-team, all-league guard McKay and honorable mention selections Peterson and Becker, the Warriors finished third in the league behind Stanwood and Shorecrest, two teams playing in the Tacoma Dome this week.

“They showed that we are players too,” Brown said. “We’re here to play. I’m proud of what they achieved.”

The Warriors will graduate six seniors but will bring back six players, including Becker, Epoch, Knowles and Acholonu.

“We’re going to go and have some time off and we’re going to come back this summer and we’re going to try and get better,” Brown said. “We have a lot of guys who’ve been in the program. This will be their third and fourth years in the program. … The future is still bright. I believe the program is headed in the right direction.”

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