In the semifinal round of the West Central District boys basketball tournament Tuesday night, Enumclaw High registered a 56-43 conquest over the feisty Foster High Bulldogs.
The contest was played at Kent’s ShoWare Center.
With the win, the No. 1-ranked Hornets improved to 23-0 on the season and earned the right to play Friday for the district championship.
Taylor Myers turned in a 22-point effort to lead Enumclaw.
“We trailed by five at half time (29-24) as we may not have played the best 16 minutes of basketball we’ve played all year,” Myers said. “This team never gives up on one another though, because we’ve been through everything imaginable in the four years we’ve been playing together. We fought hard the entire game.”
The Hornets still trailed by five with approximately three minutes remaining in the third quarter. Coach Phil Engebretsen called timeout and the five players on the floor, Ben Waters, Anthony Goch, Jayson Lewis, Coleman Clyde and Riley Carel returned to the floor intent on shutting down the Foster offense.
The tide turned in Enumclaw’s favor as Waters gathered in a rebound and zipped a pass to Carel, who in turn flung an assist to a wide-open Clyde who popped in a 3-pointer. A split second later, Lewis pilfered a Bulldog pass and sprinted for the uncontested layin that knotted the score at 35. Enumclaw never looked back as the momentum shifted.
Foster scored just 14 points in the second half.
“I knew Enumclaw was good and that Carel was the MVP of the South Puget Sound League 3A, but the Hornets aren’t just about Carel though,” said Foster post Darius Page. “Those guys all contribute in some way and have a great chemistry together. They just keep coming at you, never letting up.”
Enumclaw now plays Union High, which was a 76-68 victory Tuesday against Lakes. The district finale tips off at 8 p.m. Friday, again at ShoWare.
Enumclaw owes Union a little payback, as the Titans beat the Hornets in last year’s district tournament.
Union’s Chris Morgan will be public enemy No. 1 as far as the Hornets are concerned, because he was the Union player that plunged the dagger into Enumclaw’s heart with an underhanded layin as the final second ticked off the scoreboard clock in the 2009 stunner.
Engebretsen said EHS will be challenged by not only trying to stop Morgan, who tabulated 24 points against Lakes, but also with overcoming the Union Titans’ formidable defensive press.