Kamiak moves on to regionals | Boys basketball
Kamiak got the job done when it mattered the most.
Trailing 48-45 at the start of the fourth quarter, the Knights outscored Monroe 24-12 to beat the Bearcats 69-60 in a loser-out 4A District 1 boys basketball game Saturday, Feb. 18, at Everett Community College and earn a berth to the state regional tournament.
Junior guard Carson Tuttle scored a team-high 25 points and senior guard Christian Clausen added 20 points. Junior wing Danny Sharpe had 13 points for Kamiak, which will play Bellarmine Prep in a loser-out state regional contest at 6 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 25, at Jackson High School.
Kamiak coach Cory West saw inspired play from his squad, who were visited before the game by three former players, who played on teams that advanced to the state tournament.
“I love how the guys came together and played their best team game of the year,” West said.
Midway through the fourth quarter, Monroe center Colby Kyle fouled out and later Trenton Newhouse also fouled out. West praised the defensive play of Sharpe, who guarded Kyle, and senior Keller Whitney, who battled Newhouse.
Kamiak was coming off back-to-back victories over Jackson and Lake Stevens in loser-out games.
The Knights’ playoff run nearly came to an end at the hands of Jackson before Clausen literally saved the season.
The Timberwolves had just taken a 57-56 lead on a shot by senior Ian Willgress with about 13 seconds left in the game. Jackson, which had a foul to give, fouled Tuttle with 8 seconds remaining. The Knights inbounds the ball and Tuttle launched a 3-point shot that bounced off the rim and somehow landed in Clausen’s hands.
The senior guard immediately shot the ball, which rattled around the rim before falling through to give the Knights a stunning 58-57 victory Tuesday, Feb. 14, before an elated crowd at Kamiak High School.
“It really feels good,” Clausen said of the winning shot. “All the hard work has just paid off. I saw my season flash before my eyes, my high school career.”
Clausen saw Tuttle pull up and shoot and headed to the basket. When he saw the ball bounce off the rim, Tuttle said, “I hoped to get a rebound. It fell right into my lap.”
Out of the corner of his eye, West saw a key play by Sharpe, as the play unfolded.
“No one saw Danny boxing two guys when Christian made that shot,” West said.
Tuttle scored 19, Clausen contributed 16 points and Sharpe had 12 points.
“A win any way you get it is a win,” Clausen said. “Survive and advance.”
Kamiak followed up with a 49-48 victory over Lake Stevens Thursday, Feb. 16, at Everett Community College.
The Knights were up 49-45 with just seconds remaining when the Vikings’ hit a 3-pointer to end the game. Tuttle scored 15 points and Sharpe added 13 points.
While Tuttle and Clausen started last season, the rest of this year’s squad saw little action or were on the bench during the 2016 district playoffs. The Feb. 11 loss to Monroe in the district semifinals actually was a blessing in West’s eyes.
The players who didn’t have much playoff experience – Landon Overturf, Patrick Olson, Whitney, Hunter Watkins – had two more playoff games to get used to the postseason atmosphere.
“I think that helped,” West said.