TACOMA – The glass slipper didn’t fit, but not because it was size 16.
Rogers, in its first trip to a state basketball tournament in 34 years, ran into 6-foot-10 Steven Bjornstad – and his size 16 shoes – plus his talented Columbia River teammates.
Bjornstad scored 17 points, grabbed 12 rebounds, blocked three shots and generally made the lane a precarious place to visit as the Chieftains burst the Pirates’ bubble with a 57-51 win in the first round of the State 3A boys basketball tournament at the Tacoma Dome on Wednesday night.
“We haven’t faced anybody that size in our league,” Pirates 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 postseason runs and were within two with 46 seconds to play. No more shots fell.
“He was huge. You can’t get him to rotate (away from the basket),” Rogers coach Tim Wood said. “In the first quarter he had two or three blocked shots … so the guys were hesitant to drive in the gaps. Early on there were a lot of gaps, but we were forcing shots and they were missing.”
Shadle Park missed its wakeup call, losing to top-ranked Franklin 67-42 in the 9 a.m. opener.
“We had some opportunities early to keep the game in check and we didn’t convert,” Highlanders coach Tim Gaebe said. “That would have helped our confidence. They’re good and we panicked.”
Shadle (20-6) plays Lakes (16-8), an 87-75 loser to Seattle Prep, at 9 a.m. today in a loser-out game. Rogers (12-14) meets Capital, which lost to Rainier Beach, in the 2 p.m. loser-out game
Franklin 67, Shadle Park 42:
The Highlanders blew a layup on their first possession.
The Quakers (25-1) scored the first nine points of the game.
It was 14-4 after one quarter, 42-15 at the half.
Vonchae Richardson, who missed only two shots and hit 6 of 7 3-pointers, had 20 points by halftime.
Shadle shot 21 percent in the first half, Franklin 57.7.
All that while holding Louisville-bound Peyton Siva, a 6-foot-1 guard, to three free throws before halftime.
“I was aware of how quick they are, how up into you (defensively) they are,” Gaebe said. “
The second half was just playing out the string. The Highlanders finished at 31.7 percent, just 1 of 14 from 3-point range. Anthony Brown, who is headed to Washington State, hit the 3-pointer, but he was only 4 of 13 from the field for 16 points.
Only two other Highlanders had two baskets and just one finished with six points.
“Again, it’s about confidence,” Gaebe said. “If we had knocked down some of those shots inside maybe we would have been able to go toe to toe with them.”
Richardson finished with24 points, Siva 10, half coming from the foul line and Eastern Washington signee Chris Holmes, a 6-3 wing, had nine points on 4-of-6 shooting, and a game-high seven rebounds.
Columbia River 57, Rogers 51: The Chieftains (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 3s in the final 68 seconds of the second quarter to give Columbia River a 31-20 lead, which it 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 Chieftains started to pull 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 score 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 3 after a turnover, making it 53-49 at 1:11.
After a quick foul, the Chieftains missed the front end of a 1-and-1 and Franklin scored on a drive. The Pirates almost had another steal, but Vaughn was called for a foul and Thurston made his free throws to sink the Pirates.
Rogers shot only 35.6 percent to CR’s 46, mainly because the Pirates were just 5 of 31 from behind the 3-point line.
“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 of 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.”