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To get there, though, the Highlanders must beat No. 1-ranked and undefeated Enumclaw (26-0).
The Highlanders and Enumclaw face off at 8:30 tonight.
The North Central Indians stayed alive with an impressive
71-55 win over
NC (16-12) take on defending state champ
Shadle Park 63, O’Dea 54: The Highlanders (22-4) were steady throughout.
Leading the way offensively was senior point guard Robby Douglas, who finished with a game-high 23 points to go with seven rebounds and three assists.
And big on the boards was 6-foot-5 senior post Jake Rodgers, who had 19 rebounds as Shadle outrebounded O’Dea 50-33.
“That was a tough game,”
“This is what we came here to do,”
The Highlanders played well from the opening tip.
Shadle led by as many as 10 points, but the Irish pulled within 26-23 with 2:33 to go before halftime. A 10-5 spurt allowed the Highlanders to go into half with a 36-28 lead.
Highlanders coach Tim Gaebe was pleased with his team’s defense.
“We expected them to drive a little more, but they were content with shooting from the outside,” he said. “I was pleased overall. The kids played well.”
Gaebe knows his team must play one of its better games of the season against Enumclaw.
“They’re very good,” Gaebe said. “We’re going to have our hands full, but we’ll be ready.”
North Central 71,
So says NC 6-foot-9 senior post Lucas Evans.
“We started off the season pretty selfish,” Evans said. “Usually one person thought he had to do it by himself.
We started to get more into teamwork. We showed each other how much better we are as a team than just as (individuals).”
It was evident Thursday by the scoring as four Indians reached double figures. Evans led with 18 points and six rebounds, senior point guard Brandon Olsen had 15 points and seven assists, junior guard Gunnar Swager had 12 points and senior forward Ed Richardson had 10 points.
“We played good from the start and kept it going,” Olsen said.
Olsen hit a 3-pointer from 26 feet at the buzzer to give the Indians a 33-26 lead at halftime.
By the end of the third quarter NC had stretched its lead to 12 points, and the Indians applied more offensive pressure in the fourth, extending their margin to 22 points before coach Jay Webber went deep into his bench.
“We share it (the basketball) a lot,” Olsen said. “We have a lot of depth on our bench, too, and we can pass the ball around and anybody can score.”
Evans praised Olsen for his ability to get everybody involved.
“He doesn’t keep the ball for himself,” Evans said. “He knows if someone is open and they’ve got a good shot he’ll get it to them.”
Another win and NC will secure a trophy game.
“If we keep playing like this we can get a (trophy),” Evans said.