Devin Whitten licks his chops when the opponent’s defense moves to zone 2-3. That’s when Curtis, a sophomore at high school, gets a chance to shine.
In the semifinals of the state 4A high school basketball tournament Curtis vs. Union at the Tacoma Dome on Friday night he launched it early and often, converting five three-pointers on the road to 16 points that scored team level.
Its the biggest of the pile? Curtis held ahead by three points 1 minute 23 seconds before the game. White launched a deep three from the left flank – right in front of Curtis’ bench – when the clock was running out. He held it, got a foul and turned the game with four points to extend the lead and effectively get ahead of the game.
Curtis held out to win, 49-40, advancing to Saturday’s 4A State Championship game against Number 1 Mount C. This is Curtis ’first trip to the title game since 2013.
“When teams work in the zone, I know it’s a game where I can stand out,” Whitten said. “So today was a day and I just know I need to beat in those moments. … I just want to help the team win anything. Just beat up by doing something in the attack to help them. We knew we had to win, so I knew I had to step up today. “
Curtis broke into the lead with a score of 8-0, forcing Union coach Blake Conley to schedule an early timeout. While the Vikings kept the Titans at arm’s length for most of the game, the Alliance did not leave. The game was reminiscent of an early clash of teams in the semifinal game of District 3/4 on February 17th. Again on Saturday, Union returned to the game, which made it interesting late before Curtis won.
It wasn’t the most explosive attack in them, but the Vikings won with a defense, keeping Union on 37 percent of field shots and 0-on-7 from a 3-point distance.
“Our defense tonight, in my opinion, was excellent,” said Curtis coach Tim Kelly. “To keep them up to 40 points, we fought in the offensive. We weren’t getting good shots, we turned it around a bit. Keep playing defense, keep getting stops, and something will happen. We did that and Devin got a 3-point game in front of us, she opened it to basically seal it. ”
Curtis has a young list, which is a scary thought for the rest of the state. This team is due back next year. But for senior forward Trent Williams this is his first and last win in the state championship. He absorbs it all.
“It’s exciting,” Williams said. “The goal of every senior is to go to the state championship. That’s what we’re all fighting for, I’m fighting for. “
Chinkwe Maxwell added 13 points to the Vikings, Thais Paulsen nine and Williams seven. Curtis star sophomore Zoom Diallo spent a good night, scoring just four points, but affected the game in other ways by making five assists. Union scored 17 points for striker Jani Fassilis. Guard Bryson Metz added 11 for the Titans.
And for the first time since 2013 – when Curtis defeated Jackson and won the state championship (the team was then coached by Tim Kelly) – Curtis will play in the state championship.
“It’s great,” Whitten said. “We had a long season, all season struggling with difficulties, getting better during the season.”