Eastside Catholic had the defending 3A state champions against the ropes for one quarter Tuesday night, but couldn’t keep the pace.
The Crusaders, who led Rainier Beach 16-15 after one quarter, eventually fell 73-49 to the Vikings.
“You feel like you kind of have your finger in the dike there and you know once you kind of let it out it’s hard to stop,” Eastside coach Steve Kramer said.
The Crusaders built their early lead behind hot shooting and the ability to control the ball. Eastside Catholic only had one turnover in the first quarter and hit five of 11 shots. Senior Troy Perry gave Eastside its largest advantage, 15-11, at the 1:18 mark of the quarter, knocking down a deep three-pointer.
A plethora of turnovers and an inability to rebound against a much taller Rainier Beach squad resulted in a quick turnaround. The Crusaders had 16 turnovers in the final three quarters and trailed 39-27 at the half.
“They put a lot of pressure on you and eventually they force you out of your game,” Kramer said. “If we play our game, we can hang, but if we get impatient and take quick shots and all that.”
Rainier Beach had a balanced scoring attack with six players in double figures. Robert Harris and Cory Stern led the way with 13 apiece. Perry scored 14 for the Crusaders, while Darin Nakatsu added 13.
Eastside Catholic fell to 2-11 in league and 5-11 overall with the loss. The Crusaders aren’t technically eliminated from a post-season berth.
“We’re mathematically alive but we’ve got to get a couple wins yet to get in there,” Kramer said. “We don’t have an easy stretch. All we do is play O’Dea, Prep and Blanchet. (It’s) life in the Metro, but we love it.”
According to Kramer, Tuesday’s loss marked only the third time this season Eastside Catholic didn’t have a lead going into the fourth quarter.
“I’m proud of the way these kids are fighting despite being outmanned like that,” he said.
Issaquah slams Bothell
Issaquah rebounded from a six-point loss to league leader Garfield on Friday by blowing out Bothell, 64-46, on Tuesday.
The Eagles had three players in double-digits, led by freshman Nick Price’s 16 points. Joe Evans scored 12 and Robby Primrose added 11. The Eagles improved to 8-4 in the KingCo Crest and 9-7 overall with the win. Issaquah faced Redmond (8-4, 10-6) last night and travel to Eastlake (2-11, 3-14) at 8 p.m., today.
Eastlake rally falls short
Eastlake came up just shy of a comeback victory Tuesday night, falling 67-62 to KingCo Crown leader Inglemoor. The Wolves trailed by 10 at the half, before battling back to take the lead in the fourth quarter. The Vikings fought back, however, and sealed their 10th league and 13th overall victory. Four Wolves scored in double figures, led by Michael Russo’s 20. Turner Lee added 15, Scott Payton scored 11 and Michael Maguire had 10.
Slow start hurts Spartans
Skyline stumbled out of the gates Tuesday night and couldn’t recover in a 55-46 road loss to Woodinville. The Spartans scored just 17 points in the first half. Skyline’s Cory Hutsen led all scorers with 21 points. Nick Crossan added 11 points. The Spartans fell to 4-9 in league and 6-11 overall. They are still alive for the eighth and final KingCo playoff spot with three games remaining. Skyline faces Newport (3-10, 4-13) at 8 p.m., today on the road.