For the second year in a row, the Gonzaga Prep Bullpups fell in a quarterfinal overtime game.
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By Greg Lee
For the second year in a row, Gonzaga Prep lost a State 4A tournament quarterfinal game in overtime – one the Bullpups probably should have won in regulation.
Isiah Umipig went coast to coast for the game-winning shot with 8 seconds left and the Bullpups couldn’t muster a good look on their final possession as the defending state champion Federal Way Eagles prevailed 60-59 in overtime at the Tacoma Dome.
“It’s the same kind of situation over again,” Nicholas said. “It’s heartbreaking.”
G-Prep (24-3) takes on
Mead stayed alive for a trophy by holding off the Lake Stevens Vikings 52-45.
The Panthers (20-6) face
Federal Way 60, Gonzaga Prep 59: Junior guard Parker Kelly made two free throws to give the Bullpups a 51-48 lead with seven seconds left in the fourth quarter.
Bullpups coach Matty McIntyre called a time out, explaining that he wanted his team to foul the player bringing the ball up court. He switched Kelly, who had four fouls on him, off the Eagle he thought would be dribbling the ball and put him on George Williams, who had missed all four of his foul shots badly and probably wouldn’t be near the ball.
But Williams ended up with the ball and the Bullpups froze. Instead of fouling, they let the clock run. Williams ended up passing the ball to Jerry Duckworth, who, after hesitating as a Bulldog jumped past him, buried a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
McIntyre was asked about what transpired.
“I feel like if I answer that I’m putting people under the bus,” the first-year coach said. “I can’t answer that question.”
Then after dodging around it, McIntyre came back with a response.
“We didn’t want to give them a 3-point shot to tie it,” McIntyre said. “We were going to try to foul to take away the 3-point shot.”
On the end of overtime, McIntyre knew Umipig would have the ball.
“All I know is (Umipig) hurt us,” McIntyre said. “We had no answer for him. We sent guys at him on the last play of the game and couldn’t stop him.”
Umipig wanted the ball at the end, too.
“If I wanted the game to be in anybody’s hands, I wanted it to be in my hands,” said the Cal State-Fullerton bound guard who scored a game-high 24 points. “I just took it and I (saw) a double coming and I just split it and had some body contact and was able to finish the layup.”
Eight seconds remained after the shot, but McIntyre had already decided more than a month ago after an overtime loss to Mead that if faced with a similar situation, he wasn’t going to call a timeout.
The ball ended up in the hands of TJ Bracey just inside of midcourt and he launched a shot that caught the side of the rim. G-Prep didn’t get a chance to follow the miss as time expired.
“We had plenty of time to get the ball up and attack the rim,” McIntyre said. “We just lost track of time and took a shot maybe a little bit too early.
We were trying to get the ball to the rim to get back to the free throw line.”
The end of regulation and overtime overshadowed two remarkable comebacks by the Bullpups.
FW (25-2) sprinted to an 18-6 lead in the first quarter. But G-Prep clawed back to tie it at 21-21 on a Nicholas shot with 2:30 to go before halftime. Another Eagles spurt allowed them to take a 30-22 lead into intermission.
The Eagles made the first two shots of the second half to build another 12-point lead. Again, the Bullpups fought back, this time using a 24-4 run for their biggest lead at 46-38 with 4:10 to go in the fourth quarter.
“They’re a great team and great teams aren’t going to give up,” Umipig said of the Bullpups’ comebacks.
McIntyre praised his players’ resiliency.
“We have tough kids. They’re winners,” McIntyre said. “We
knew we could beat
We have a state championship type of team. I certainly don’t consider us losing today. It’s more than heartbreaking not to be able to go and play in the state championship game because we have all the pieces to do that.”
Nicholas, who had to leave the game for 42 seconds in the fourth quarter to attend to a cut under his left eye, led G-Prep with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Kelly had 17 points.
“We’ve got to remember it’s a tournament and the tournament’s not over,” Nicholas said of finding a way to bounce back today. “We’ve got to keep battling and we’d like to end on a good note here.”
Mead 52, Lake Stevens 45: Aaron Dunn felt like he had a new lease on life.
After being outmatched and having to defend UCLA-bound Josh Smith on Wednesday, Dunn scored a game-high 22 points after scoring just seven in the state opener.
“I felt like I could operate. It’s different when there’s not a mountain in there (the key),” Dunn said.
The game had its share of sloppy moments – typical of a loser-out game on Thursday. But Mead coach Glenn Williams praised his team’s determination.
“That was a typical second-day game,” Williams said. “It’s about grit and determination. We found the will to get a couple of stops and we got the ball in where we needed to. We want to play for a trophy. We want to get something shiny to bring home.”