Olympia High School is returning to the state quarterfinals of Class 4A.
Two years ago, the Bears reached the final eight of the net and eventually took home the trophy for fourth place for the best finish in almost ten years.
They were expected to be contenders for the championship in the 4A tournament last season, but it was never played due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Even after such a long delay between performances and after all-American forward Jackson Grant graduated from Gatorade Player of the Year last spring, this Olympia band proved on Wednesday that it still has a long way to go to make a competitive party inside Tacoma Dome this weekend.
The Bears at No. 11 early took the lead at No. 6 at the Mariner and later took another lead, resulting in a sad 50-41 victory in the first round, organizing their second quarter-final trip to the same number of tournaments.
“It’s nice to be back,” said junior guard Parker Garritz. “I know many of us were upset that last year we didn’t have the opportunity to play here.
“So not only is this team, but we’re also introducing last year’s team to show them clearly that they also need to be here.”
Olympia (24-3) opened the game with a score of 8-0, three-pointers Caden Roth and Gerrits and the first of eight buckets junior forward Andreas Engholm with 6 feet 7.
Mariner, in Tacoma Doom for the first time since 2009, responded with his series with a score of 8-0, and later in the quarter led by one point in the Macau Bloomfield trio, although Olympia responded to the next possession in the basket with Shea Burns and held that lead until fourth. quarters.
However, neither team scored again until the middle of the second quarter, enduring a zero drought that lasted nearly five minutes.
“Olympia” finally broke it on a corner three-pointer from Roth with a score of 3:51 by the end of the half, making the result 14-4 in the second quarter, which eventually gave the “bears” a double-digit lead before the break.
“We turned it around very early – and we recognize their pressure – but I felt like there were a lot of kids at Tacoma Dome in the new days,” Olympia coach John Keeley said. “I think we got a job and then kind of created a nice little leader line there.”
Engholm joined in a pair of free throws, Byrnes hit with a short throw, and Engholm made a controversial stack in the paint before Mariner scored again.
Only after Isaiah Cuellar found a place on the baseline with a score of 1:23 before the end of the half, the “Marauders” finished the 10-minute period without a basket.
Gerrits later sent the Bears into the half with even more momentum – driving to the 3-point line in the final seconds, swinging to shake the defender, and then demolishing a long beep attempt to make the score 26-15.
But the Marauders (16-10) regrouped in the third quarter and scored in their first five possessions to hastily close the gap.
They eventually got their first lead after a 1:25 mark in the first quarter when Tian Sane made a hard hit in the paint and made the score 39-38 at 5:26 before the end of the game.
As Olympia still lags behind, Gerrits, the program’s top scorer, who entered the tournament with 17.6 points per game, fouled in less than two minutes.
“We’re just galvanized,” Engholm said. “We just said our top scorer came out, we just need to get together, stop and just do what we know we can. We can all kill, so just play the way we know we can play. ”
The Bears finished the game 12-2, and junior guard Mason Jurgens, who averaged 5.8 points in the game, was in the lead, scoring all eight points in the last four minutes. His productive game from 3:49 to the end gave “Olympia” a decisive advantage with a score of 40-39.
“I got a lot of confidence from there,” Jürgens said. “I realized when Gerrits came out, I probably needed to get more buckets than usual.”
He added another base with 52 seconds left, and added four free throws – twice sinking both ends one-on-one – in the final 30 seconds as the Bears closed their victory.
“I trusted them that they put in all the work to get here,” said Heritz, saying that his teammates had finished the game. “All off-season, all season. … I was really proud of the guys. “
Engholm finished the double-double, scoring 18 points and 11 boards, while Gerrits and Roth added 10 points each.
Sane and Nasser Motley topped Mariner with 13 points each and Dakota Joseph with eight.
On Thursday at 15:45 “Olympia” will meet with number 5 “Tahoma” (16-8). Tahoma won the only other meeting between the two programs this season, 56-49, last month at Olympia.
This story was originally published March 2, 2022 9:10 p.m.