Total team effort lifts Knights to 4A District title | Boys basketball

Olson scores 19 to lead Kamiak past Glacier Peak
By David Pan | Feb 21, 2018
Photo by: David R Pan Kamiak’s Patrick Olson drives the lane during the 4A District 1 championship game against Glacier Peak Thursday, Feb. 15 at Everett Community College. Olson scored a game-high 19 points to lead the Knights to a 72-56 victory.

They remembered.

Two years ago, Kamiak advanced to the 4A District 1 boys basketball championship game.

The Knights remembered the excitement and eventually the disappointment of losing to Cascade.

Senior Patrick Olson was just a sophomore sitting on the bench and cheering on his teammates.

Senior Carson Tuttle talked with coach Cory West after the loss and vowed he and Kamiak would get back to the district finals.

They did and this time the Knights walked out as district champions.

Olson scored 19 points and Tuttle added 16 to lead Kamiak to a 72-56 victory over Glacier Peak Thursday, Feb. 15, at Everett Community College.

“It feels good after losing that game to Cascade two years ago,” Olson said. “We really wanted to come and get those nets this year.”

The players talked a lot about the 2015-16 squad, not necessarily about how the Knights lost, but more on the qualities that made that team successful.

“That team was so close,” West said. “They talked about the togetherness of that team.”

Olson describes Kamiak as a family.

“We play together,” he said. “No one cares who makes the plays. Of course, it all starts with Tuttle and he sets us all up… He does a great job of getting us all in a position to score.”

Different Kamiak players connected on key baskets throughout the game.

Senior Conner Fitzpatrick scored 10 points and senior Jordan Meyer finished with 9 points.

“We played inspired,” West said. “Everybody stepped up.”

The Knights have been described as a team that relies heavily on Tuttle. Stop Tuttle and you’ll stop Kamiak sometimes is the rallying cry from some of their opponents’ supporters.

The rest of the Knights didn’t like hearing those sorts of comments and in Thursday’s title game Tuttle gave his teammates the opportunity to respond.

“He was able to defer and guys were able to step up,” West said. “His trusting in them, that makes a world of difference.”

Kamiak (15-8) faces defending state champion Kentwood (19-7) in a loser-out 4A state regional game at 4 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 24, at Auburn Mountainview High School.

The Knights were feeling confident after defeating the Grizzlies, the two-time Wesco 4A champions.

“We’re ready to take on the competition,” Tuttle said. “We’re ready to go.”

Kamiak came out ready to play against Glacier Peak, jumping out to a 12-5 lead after the first quarter. The Grizzlies (20-3) regrouped and started chipping away at the Kamiak lead late in the quarter. A 3-point shot by sophomore guard Brayden Corwin gave Glacier Peak the lead – 27-24 – before Kamiak junior Dakota Bueing hit a 3-pointer to tie the score at 27 at halftime.

The talk in the Kamiak locker room was on refocusing.

“It’s a game of runs,” Tuttle said. “Other teams are going to go on runs sometimes. So we just tried to stay level-headed throughout and not get our highs too high and not get our lows too low. We just really wanted to focus at halftime and make sure we came out in the second half with the same level of energy that we had in the first half.”

The Knights opened the third quarter with a 10-0 run with shots from Olson (3-pointer), senior Landon Overturf, Fitzpatrick (3-pointer) and a putback basket by senior Daniel Sharpe. Kamiak went into the fourth quarter with a 48-39 advantage before seeing the lead cut to 56-50 midway through the period.

The Knights then responded with a 7-0 run capped by a 3-point shot from Fitzpatrick that extended the Kamiak lead to 63-50 and the Knights were never threatened the rest of the contest.

“I love my team. I’m super confident in them,” Tuttle said. “I think we have an opportunity to go far this season.”

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