The third time was a charm for the Enumclaw High boys basketball squad, which beat Renton 55-49 in overtime Friday night on Foster High’s Parker Court.
The Hornets finally did away with the Renton jinx, having lost to the Indians in postseason play the past couple of years.
Although the contest was simply a seeding game between the league champions from the South Puget Sound League 3A (Enumclaw) and the Seamount League (Renton), spectators would have never known it, judging by the energy expended by the predominately junior squads.
The EHS backers watched guard Jayson Lewis take his game to another level. The junior went 11-for-15 from the floor and 4-for-4 from the foul line down the stretch, to record a game high 27 points, while hauling down 11 rebounds, posting four steals and distributing three assists.
Meanwhile, Riley Carel and Taylor Myers each managed double-digit scoring with 11 and 10 points, respectively, and 6-foot-6 Hornet post Tarren VanTrojen was Mr. Windex, polishing the glass for 10 boards.
Coach Phil Engebretsen had high praise for the band of boosters who saw the Hornets win their 20th clash of the season compared to a single, one-point loss.
“That really gave us a lift as a team, to look up into the stands and see and hear that many folks cheering us on,” Engebretsen said.
Friday’s suspenseful affair saw the lead change hands several times because both teams were battling as if the state championship hung in the balance.
In the end though, it was Enumclaw’s relentless defense which netted a dozen steals and caused countless Renton turnovers and helped EHS prevail.
Enumclaw will play at 8 p.m. Thursday at Puyallup High, with the winner automatically earning a trip to the March 11-14 state tournament in the Tacoma Dome.
“I don’t want to take anything away from Enumclaw,” said Renton coach Rick Comer, whose Indian crew also had lost just once prior to entering the Foster gym.
“Enumclaw has a chemistry that you don’t often see at the high school level,” Comer said. “They are a very patient and disciplined bunch that works the basketball down the floor and looks for the best percentage shot inside.”
Indeed, Enumclaw did not fire off a 3-point shot attempt in the first half, until it went 2-for-2 from outside the arc, when Myers and Lewis were on the mark with a tandem of treys right before intermission that sent the Hornets jogging into the locker room up 26-20.
The game ended with a bit of controversy that had Comer complaining about the fact that referee’s calls cannot be reviewed in high school hoops. The officials’ judgement was hotly contested for a good 10 minutes before the squads re-engaged for the overtime stanza.
With the score knotted at 47, Renton inbounded with seven seconds remaining in regulation and worked the ball into the hands of marquee player Achoki Moikobu, who had a good look at the hoop and buried about a 15-foot baseline jumper.
The officials waved off the bucket, ruling that the horn had sounded prior to Moikobu getting off the shot.
Reach John Leggett at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-802-8207.