Freeman boys basketball coach Marty Jessett wasn’t thrilled his team had to face Northeast A foe Newport in a State 1A regional opener Saturday.
And for 27 minutes, the Grizzlies gave the Scotties all they could handle at University High School.
No. 1-ranked Freeman weathered adversity, pulling out a 44-38 win over eight-seeded Newport.
The Scotties (22-1) advance to the quarterfinals at the SunDome in Yakima on Thursday. Newport (15-9) faces Hoquiam (15-7) in a loser-out game Wednesday. Hoquiam eliminated Medical Lake 90-75 Saturday.
Jessett expected nothing short of the all-out effort the Grizzlies put forth. Newport, which gives up size to the Scotties, outhustled Freeman much of the game.
A basket by Danny Bradbury gave Newport a 35-32 lead with 5:32 remaining.
That’s when Quin Hopkins and Michael Coumont hit back-to-back 3-pointers for Freeman, vaulting the Scotties back into the lead for good.
“They’re real physical and we missed a lot of easy ones in the first half,” Jessett said. “Then they got momentum and once they got that it’s pretty tough to get back into what we were doing. They’re pretty dogged and their familiar with us because it’s the third time to play them this year.”
Freeman shot poorly overall.
“I don’t know what it was but it’s probably the worst we’ve shot all year,” Jessett said.
Coumont led Freeman with 16 points. Ryan Maine had 11 and Hopkins had seven rebounds to go with eight points.
Bradbury led Newport with 12 points and Koa Pancho had seven rebounds and nine points.
“Those kids (Grizzlies) have improved a lot,” Jessett said. “It’ll be nice to play somebody different (next week).”
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