TACOMA – The Gonzaga Prep boys basketball team expected to be playing for a state championship.
So the Bullpups aren’t going to settle for a moral victory. Not when they were on the cusp of pulling the off the biggest upset of the season.
Ferron Flavors made a driving basket with four seconds remaining as the No. 1-ranked Eagles averted an upset, holding off Gonzaga Prep 46-44 in a State 4A tournament semifinal Friday at the Tacoma Dome.
“Nobody expected us to be within 25 points of them,” G-Prep coach Matty McIntyre said.
The Bullpups (24-3) will try to collect themselves to play for third place Saturday when they take on Curtis (24-4). Tipoff is at 1.
Federal Way (28-0) will meet Kentwood (22-6) in the title game.
Just before Flavors’ game-clinching basket, a Federal Way missed shot bounded out of bounds, apparently off a G-Prep player. That gave the Eagles another shot.
A play for a 3-point attempt was designed for Flavor, but when it wasn’t there he drove to the basket.
G-Prep called time out following Flavors’ basket, and the referees put 4.9 seconds on the clock when it appeared there were 3.3 seconds remaining.
Freshman Anton Watson threw a pass to Sam Lockett, who got it at midcourt and dribbled hard toward G-Prep’s bench. He was cut off and he threw it back to Watson, who had just crossed midcourt. Watson got off about a 35-footer that caromed off the glass at the buzzer.
“The kids played their hearts out,” said McIntyre, who was so much into the emotion of the game that he ripped his sport coat off when a foul wasn’t called as Lockett attempted a dunk on a breakaway with a Federal Way player hanging on him with 2:50 to go.
It was obvious what G-Prep’s game plan included. The Bullpups were shortening the game up by going deep into the shot clock.
“We played well enough to win,” McIntyre said.
G-Prep committed three turnovers in a two-minute span, starting when the Bullpups had a 42-35 lead.
Federal Way went on a 9-0 surge, capped when D’Jimon Jones hit a 3-point shot for a 44-42 lead with 1:03 to go – the Eagles’ first lead since 16-15 with 5:27 to go in the second quarter.
On G-Prep’s next possession, Logan Adams took a 3-point shot that bounded long, but Devin Culp hauled in the rebound. He passed it back to Adams, who was fouled taking another 3-point shot.
Adams missed the first free throw and made the second. Then Federal Way took a timeout to try and freeze him.
Out of the timeout, Adams made the foul shot, trying the score at 44-44 with 29 seconds to go.
A 3-pointer from Brandon Bieber gave G-Prep its biggest lead, 25-17, with 1:58 to go in the first half.
Kea Vargas was fouled heaving a 3-point shot from 80 feet at the halftime buzzer and was given three foul shots. But he made just one, giving the Bullpups a 26-19 lead at intermission.
Someone G-Prep managed to work through foul trouble in the first half. Four players had two or more fouls.
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