YAKIMA – St. John-Endicott’s Eagles, the little team that could, ran out of fuel just short of its final destination.
The Eagles (16-12) had five-time champion Sunnyside Christian on its heels for much of the game Saturday night, but in the end the steady free-throw shooting of junior guard Steven Bosma was the difference as the Knights won the State 1B boys basketball title 49-43 at the SunDome.
A potential state tournament appearance was not a consideration when the Eagles lost six out of seven games in one early-season stretch while senior standout Warren Miller rehabbed a knee injury. After Miller came back, the team lost just four times the rest of the way prior to Saturday night.
Miller hit his stride during the state tournament, averaging 22 points and nine rebounds a contest, winning tournament MVP honors. He had 23 points and nine rebounds in the title game.
Bosma, who missed the first three weeks of the season with a broken collarbone, hit six free throws in the final 1:07.
The slender guard calmly sank two from the line with 35 seconds left that offset Ben Harrison’s deep 3-pointer from the top of the key and gave the Knights a four-point advantage.
“I thought we had them,” Eagles coach Rick Winters said. “We had them in foul trouble, which is what we wanted, but we lacked a little patience on the offensive end at the end of the game.”
The Eagles scored just one basket – Harrison’s 3-pointer – in the final 2:14.
“We just couldn’t keep our foot on the gas pedal,” Winters said.
The Eagles were aided early by foul trouble on the part of Sunnyside Christian’s Steven Broersma. The 6-foot-6 junior post was on the bench for more than half of the first two quarters. Despite Broersma’s absence (he averaged seven rebounds a game through the first three rounds), the Eagles still trailed 17-11 on the boards.
At the same time, the Knights were unable to work the ball in to their other big man, Kevin De Jong, who took just one shot in the first 16 minutes.
“To win, we knew we had to take out their big guys,” Miller said afterward. “We went right at 51 (Broersma) and got him on the bench like we wanted.”
Wellpinit 72, Moses Lake Christian 52: Cody Flett bounced back from a subpar performance in the semifinals, pouring in 26 points and powering the Redskins to a third-place trophy with an easy win over the Lions.
The trophy is just the second for Wellpinit and it marks the Redskins’ best finish.
Flett had 16 points in the first half when the Redskins (23-4) raced to a 42-21 lead. MLC never got closer than 19 points after that. Wellpinit’s defense forced 23 turnovers, converting them into 23 points.
Flett finished the four-game tournament with 82 points.
Kennedy Seyler had 14 and Dakota Ford 13 for Wellpinit.
Cusick 56, Almira/Coulee-Hartline 54: Spencer Shanholtzer hit two big 3-pointers in the fourth and Derek Issak’s potential game-tying 3-pointer hit the front of the rim and bounced away as the Panthers claimed the fourth-place trophy.
Shanholtzer opened the final period with a 3-pointer, breaking a 41-all tie and giving Cusick (22-7) a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.
Shanholtzer’s 17 points led Cusick, which won a third straight trophy, while Issak had 26 points for ACH (18-10), which won its 13th state trophy with the seventh-place finish. Issak finished the tournament with 90 points, just short of the tournament scoring record of 94 set by Lesjar McKinney in 2009.
Tyler Edwards supported Shanholtzer with 16 points and Jacob Prine had 12. Cody Jess had 14 points for ACH and Chad Carlquist added 12.