The magic run ended for the Rogers boys basketball team. Click below for my unedited game story, which will be combined with the Shadle Park boys story in Thursday’s paper.
The glass slipper didn’t fit but not because it was size 16.
Bjornstad scored 17 points, grabbed 12 rebounds, blocked three shots and generally made the lane a precarious place to visit as the Chieftans burst the Pirates’ bubble with a 57-51 win in the first-round of the State 3A boys basketball tournament at the Tacoma Dome Wednesday night.
“We haven’t faced anybody that size in our league,” Pirate senior Jesse Vaughn said after scoring a game-high 18 points. “We did an OK job. He blocked more shots than we’re used to but then we adjusted well and took it right at him.”
The Pirates were down 15 with 3½ minutes to go but made one of their patented post-season runs and were within two with 46 seconds to play but no more shots fell.
“He was huge. You can’t get him to rotate (away from the basket),”
The Chieftans (20-6) closed the first quarter with a 7-2 surge for a 14-9 lead and fought off the Pirates the rest of the way.
“I think it was being at state for the first time in 34 years,” Vaughn said. “It took us a while to pick up the slack.”
Kyle Thurston, a 5-10 point guard who finished with 14 points and four assists, had back-to-back deep 3’s in the final 68 seconds of the second quarter to give Columbia River a 31-20 lead, which they matched at the end of the third quarter as Bjornstad had a dunk and Zack Bjork made a layup at the buzzer on a nifty pass from Connar Oberst.
The Chieftans pulled away in the fourth quarter – except they didn’t, squandering the 15-point lead they had when Bjornstad scored to make it 49-34 at the 5:29 mark. The scored didn’t change for about two minutes. Vaughn’s three-point play made it 51-44 at 1:51. Kyle Legato, a 6-6 forward, got behind the defense for an easy CR basket but Dillon Franklin scored on a putback and Vaughn scored on a deep three after a turnover, making it 49-53 at 1:11.
After a quick foul, the Chieftains missed the front end of a one-and-one and
The Pirates almost had another steal but Vaughn was called for a foul and Thurston made his free throws to sink the Pirates.
“We battled back because the guys play with heart and emotion,” Wood said. “We got some steals … and finally hit a couple of shots. Unfortunately we were a few short. We had some looks.”
“They hit some big shots because we told them early on they had to help out more than we like to do,” Wood said. “I think we got a couple steps farther away from the shooter. We didn’t know their personnel as well as we would have liked before the game, to tell the truth. We had some problems with unforced turnovers. They weren’t really pressuring us playing in a zone.”