The tournament committee saved the best for last and it was well worth the wait.
That was especially true for the Enumclaw High boys basketball faithful, who made the trip north Monday night to watch Hornet senior guard Coleman Clyde come into his own and put on a shooting clinic contributing 21 points.
Clyde’s 21 points and 5-for-7 effort from 3-point territory helped EHS thwart Bellevue High 53-47 in the final contest the 2010 King Holiday Hoopfest, staged on the University of Washington campus.
The much ballyhooed holiday match up, which began an hour late at 8:30 p.m., featured two of the state’s remaining unbeaten 3A boys squads. Both Enumclaw and Bellevue entered the contest 12-0.
The outcome certainly could shake up the statewide Associated Press rankings, which have had Bellevue at the top, with Enumclaw nipping at the Wolverines’ heels.
“It was just a good old-fashioned, hard-nosed basketball battle,” an elated Enumclaw coach Phil Engebretsen said after the game.
“This was a great experience for our team, because not only did they get a glimpse of the skill level they’ll be facing later on down the line, but they also prevailed against one of the state’s finer squads.”
As the epic, nonleague contest began to unfold, both squads felt one another out in the first quarter like a couple of seasoned pugilists, displaying some understandable butterflies.
About midway through the second period though, the tide began to turn in Enumclaw’s favor.
“I was really proud of the way that our big guy, Tarren VanTrojen, worked his butt off down in the low post along with Jayson Lewis and was able to get Bellevue’s big fella, Nate Sikma, in foul trouble late in the first half,” offered Engebretsen, who has led Enumclaw to three consecutive South Puget Sound League 3A titles.
“We are playing very determined basketball right now and coach Engebretsen has created such a reliable work ethic, that no matter how much adversity we face, as long we continue to be unselfish and play hard as a team we can overcome almost anything,” senior point guard Riley Carel said.
Enumclaw doggedly won the rebounding war under the basket 40-30, with a dozen of those caroms finding the awaiting clutches of either VanTrojen or Carel.
Carel, who led the way with eight assists, was the paragon of the unselfish team player. Nearly every time he touched the ball, the Wolverines would collapse at least two defenders on him, resulting in his scoring only two points on the night.
Carel, in turn, continually found teammates with open shots.
Senior backcourt sharpshooters, Clyde and Taylor Myers, combined to accrue 33 of EHS’ 53 points.
Myers was the Hornet who sealed the deal for the Hornets.
He went 7-for-7 from the charity stripe down the stretch, as the Wolverines desperately called timeouts and fouled during the contest’s last five minutes in an attempt to get back into the swing of things. Bellevue trailed by 10 points early in the fourth period.
Taylor dropped in back-to-back clutch free throws with 10 seconds remaining in the game.
The second round of SPSL 3A action begins to unravel for the red hot Enumclaw gang at 7 tonight, Wednesday, when EHS hosts Bonney Lake.