Dylan Averett shot the St. George’s Dragons past the North Beach Hyaks with a hot hand and a cool head.
Averett’s 3-point shot with 56 seconds left in Thursday night’s quarterfinal gave the Dragons a lead they never relinquished.
St. George’s coach Jennifer Mountain called it “probably the biggest shot of his season.” But if the shot as it arced toward the rim raised the blood pressure of fans on both sides of the Arena, it didn’t come off like that much of a big deal to the shooter, at least not in the re-telling.
“Just playing basketball,” the 6-1 senior shrugged. “I didn’t feel any pressure. I used to, but it’s just the flow of the game - catch the ball and shoot it. I do it a hundred times in practice.”
He did keep an ear out for a coach.
“The only thing that entered my mind was that the assistant coach, Marty (Hart) said, ‘Hit that!’ I caught it and I heard it. ‘Hit that!’ So I did.”
Mountain said North Beach doubled down low on the Dragons’ struggling scoring leader, Jason Ala. That left Averett, a forward and effective front-line player, out on the wing, alone with the ball.
“He can normally shoot that shot,” Mountain said. “It’s not a surprise that he hit it.”
The Dragons move into tonight’s semifinals with the upstart Clallam Bay Bruins feeling that they’re starting to come around.
“We still haven’t played up to our capabilities in the tournament,” Mountain said. “We’ve played better during the season. Jason Ala hasn’t played his game yet. It’s nice that four other guys are stepping up, but if he can get going and we can keep everybody else going, I think we’re going to be right there.”
“We’ve struggled,” he said, “but we’ve been a fourth-quarter team all year. We stepped up again in the fourth.”
A veteran B tournament fan, Averett says the feel of this year’s event in the new building is bigger.
“My dad and I have always gone to the State B in the past (in the Coliseum),” he said. “This year, with two games going on at the same time, I get a feel like it’s more big-time.”
Pouring on the Coles
Another who’s in tonight’s semifinals is Tim Coles, the Garfield-Palouse coach who can spot a tournament team before the first day of school.
This one surprised him.
“If you’d asked me before the season if I was going to get to the state tournament I would have said no way,” Coles said. “But our kids just over-achieved.”
Don’t they always?
Coles calls senior guard BJ Hill Mr. Attack. Other than Hill, it’s “hard for me to point to one guy and say he’s the difference,” the coach said. “This is one year where I don’t have any stars. I don’t have Brooks McCracken, Spook Victor or a Craig Brantner. I have five guys willing to work together who are good at certain things.
“The key is, they’re not afraid. They’ll step up and play.”
Senior guard Doug Sims of the Summit Invaders is the son of King County councilman Ron Sims. … The crew chief of officials is Steve Brown of Federal Way, now an instructor at Tacoma Community College. In the ‘80s, he ran the baseball program at Whitworth and later assisted at Gonzaga.