Redmond beats Mariner at state tournament

The Redmond boys' basketball team fulfilled their quest to bring a Class 4A state trophy back to Redmond High School with a 42-38 victory over Mariner in a state consolation matchup Friday morning at the Tacoma Dome.

The last time the Mustangs earned a trophy at the state tournament was in 2001, when Redmond placed eighth.

Redmond had to overcome a horrendous second-quarter shooting slump and some very tough defense by the Mauraders to earn a spot in the 5th/8th-place game, which will be played Saturday at 11:30 a.m.

"It's not surprising, the third game of back-to-back-to-back," Redmond coach Jeff Larson said of the poor shooting. "It just comes down to mental toughness. Our kids from day one, they never got too high, they never got too low, they just keep grinding it out."

The game came down to the fourth quarter, after the Mustangs overcame an eight-point deficit at the half, fueled by much-improved shooting and an amped-up defensive effort.

The momentum swung the Mustangs' way with a pair of brilliant putbacks by Jared Alexander, who tipped in his own missed layup, and Chris Harrington, who followed up a missed three-pointer by Phil Leland.

Nursing a 35-34 lead and with both teams over the foul limit, the Mustangs' Harrington came through in the clutch once again from the charity stripe by draining his last four attempts to keep the game just out of the Marauders' reach.

"Mariner's very physical, very athletic, and they were bigger and stronger than us. But our guys still found a way," Larson said.

Both teams were showing signs of fatigue in the game's early going, as the Mustangs and Marauders combined to shoot 11 for 37 in the first half.

Redmond fared the worst, suffering an 0-for-7 slump that extended nearly four minutes into the second quarter, as the aggressive Marauders didn't hesitate to drive the lane and draw contact.

Still, Larson said his team's only remaining goal was to bring home a banner, and now that his team has accomplished that feat, they will be sure to savor the moment.

"Tomorrow is for the team," Larson said. "We're gonna be here and enjoy every minute of that. My instructions to them was that for 32 minutes, I want them smiling."

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