Zoom Diallo thought the nerves could catch up to him on Thursday night. After all, it was his first time he played at Tacoma Dome. Of course, he grew up, went to Curtis’ games, watched his older brother play for the Vikings, so he was no stranger. But watching and playing are two different things.
If he was nervous, it definitely wasn’t. Diallo, Curtis ’super-sophomore, who is soon becoming a highly coveted prospect of recruiting in Division I, was brilliant in his debut at Tacoma Dome, scoring 24 points when shooting from a 9 out of 15 field in Curtis’ 67-55 Gonzaga Prep’s victory. the quarterfinal match of the state class 4A basketball tournament on Thursday night.
“It was exciting,” Diallo said. “I thought I would have nerves, but I was in the locker room and brought myself to a calm state, just blocked out the noise and stuff. I wasn’t nervous. It was very interesting to see how all the fans came to watch us play, the old people who coached me. It meant a lot. “
Curtis coach Tim Kelly, who has coached many talented players during his coaching career in high school, has never coached anyone like Diallo.
“He played great again,” Kelly said. “He doesn’t rattle. He plays at the same pace, not very forceful. He can get shot if he wants to. What I liked about him tonight was that he really thought about possession ahead, asked us what to run next time and the like. He became a real leader and scored a couple of threes in the first half that were big punches around the perimeter. They reached out to him, and then he could get to the rim of anyone. ”
Thais Polsen scored 15 points for Curtis, Cinque Maxwell for nine and Trent Williams for eight. Preparations for Gonzaga were led by Oregon Commissioner Jaden Stevens, who scored 26 points.
“I thought our guys were fighting (Stevens),” Kelly said. “This guy is good. We didn’t really have an answer for him. We made it work, but we tried to keep others from it, and I think we worked really well with it. “
Curtis has a young squad, but the Vikings are not playing for years, reaching the semifinals for the first time since the 2019 season, when the Vikings moved to Mount X.
“We’re just closed,” Diallo said. “We know the main goal is to win. Take this one by one, we just walk in, tell each other to be focused, and then we just get older. Get together and just play hard. ”
Curtis will meet Union in the semifinals on Friday at 9 p.m. The Vikings have already played once with the Titans this season, in the semi-finals of the 3/4 district. Curtis broke away to a great early lead, but Union turned away before Curtis eventually stuck to victory.
“It’s going to be a battle,” Kelly said. “We both know each other. The same intelligence report, we won’t need to do anything new. It will be a damn game. Who will play best and fulfill their game plan? ”