Olympia defeated Tahoe in the 4A state basketball tournament


Olympia players celebrate a 60-53 victory over Tahoma in the quarterfinal state tournament match of Class 4A on Thursday, March 3, 2022, at Tacoma Doom in Tacoma, Washington.


When it comes to basketball skills, Olympia junior guard Mason Jurgens is not the most talented player on the Bears list. He is not one of the team’s top scorers. In fact, his future in sports at the next level is likely to be in football form (Juergens was qualifying for the first team to The News Tribune 2021 national football team as a receiver for bears).

But Jurgens has a clutch gene. For the second day in a row, when the game was coming to an end in the fourth quarter, Jurgens took over. On Thursday night in the match with Tahoma in the quarterfinals of the state basketball tournament for youth class 4A there was 1 minute 25 seconds left, Jurgens was with an open three-pointer in the corner.

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Olympia guard Mason Jurgens (5) celebrates after scoring a three-pointer when Tahoma guard Cody Casper (12) approaches to pick up a pass during the fourth quarter of the quarterfinal state tournament of Class 4A on Thursday, March 3, 2022, at the Tacoma Dome. Tacoma, Washington Pete Custer pcaster@thenewstribune.com

He plunged it, bringing Olympia ahead, and continued 5 of 6 free throws at the last minute to get on the ice in the game 60-53 and send the Bears to the state semifinals on Friday at Tacoma Dome

“All this time at the Dome I was missing 3, and in the end I had to make one,” Jürgens said. “I was in the corner, my time came, decided to shoot, saw it come in and I was happy with it.”

Jürgens, for his part, didn’t care how many points he scored each night. The only thing that worries him is what the scoreboard says when the clock strikes zero.

“I just want to win,” he said. “I will do my best to win. If it’s free throws, if it’s a defense game, if it’s a rebound, I’ll do my best to win. “

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Olympia guard Drew Carlson (10) dribbles along the baseline as Tahoma guard Gavin Garcia (3) defends during the fourth quarter of the quarter-finals of the 4A state tournament on Thursday, March 3, 2022, in Tacoma Doom, Tacoma. Yours. Pete Custer pcaster@thenewstribune.com

Olympia coach John Keeley said Jurgens is probably the best athlete on the team.

“Athletes have a tendency to rise at times when needed, and he’s sure he has that ability,” Keeley said. “Without him we would not be where we are.”

Olympia’s junior guard Parker Garrits led the Bears with 22 points and forward Andreas Engholm added 14. In Tahoe, Carson Talbert scored 18 points and Cody Casper 13.

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Tahoma forward Carson Talbert, 30, tries to strike when Olympia defender Parker Garrits, 22, defends during the fourth quarter of the 4A state quarterfinal state tournament on Thursday, March 3, 2022, in Tacoma Doom, Tacoma, Wagong, Wash. . The caster pcaster@thenewstribune.com

“Olympia” led with a score of 10 in the half, but Tahoma turned away, beating “Olympia” with a score of 21-10 in the third quarter and leading the final period by one point. It was a similar story with the district tournament 3/4 recently when Tahoma defeated Olympia.

“They did the same thing here, came out (hot) in the third quarter,” Keeley said. “I felt we moved the ball better (this time). A few weeks ago we had very few assists in the game. This game took us to the next level when we look back at how we played. We didn’t play the way we wanted to play. We want to move the ball, be selfless, get the best shot. … I think this change has been a big reason why we have risen to where we are now. ”

Friday’s semi-final is the first for Olympia since 1998, when the Bears defeated Mercer Island before falling from Rainier Beach in a Class 3A state championship match. Olympia’s last appearance at the state tournament was in 2020, when the Bears, led by Jackson Grant, finished fourth. Last year’s state tournament was canceled due to a pandemic.

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Olympia celebrates after a blocked strike by striker Cree Barn (54) during the second quarter of the quarter-final state tournament of Class 4A against Tahoma on Thursday, March 3, 2022, in Tacoma Doom, Tacoma, Washington. Pete Custer pcaster@thenewstribune.com

“Two years ago we had a very good group of players and we finished fourth,” Keeley said. Last year, I think we would be among the favorites. So last year was a real disappointment. Our guys worked hard – look at their bodies – worked hard. We had a “reboot” model because I wanted that thinking, because we have great athletes. ”

On Friday at 19:15 in Tacoma Dome “Olympia” will meet with number 1 Mount Sea in the state semifinals.

John Manley covers high school sports for The News Tribune. Winner of the McClatchy President’s Award and a graduate of the University of Gonzaga, Manley has been covering the South Sound sports scene since 2013. Born and raised in Tacoma.

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