After a 48-46 buzzer-beater loss to Quilcene last Thursday night, the Bear Creek boys’ basketball team faltered late on Saturday against the Seattle Lutheran Saints, 44-42, at Chief Leschi School, bringing its incredible run to an abrupt end at the Class 1A Tri-District tournament.
The Grizzlies, who were 20-2 going into Saturday’s game, were held to just four points in the fourth quarter on excellent pressure defense by the Saints.
Led by shooting savant Jamie Meyer, who had a game-high 22, the Grizzlies dominated the first quarter, leading by a football-like score of 21-7. The Saints got hot in the second period and narrowed the gap to 28-23, and Bear Creek was able to keep its rival at bay until the disastrous fourth quarter.
Seattle Lutheran shooting guard Conner Mullan proved to be the difference in the game as he dropped in 19 on the Grizzlies. Teammate Ryan Morgan added 15.
Sophomore guard Lucas Peterson was the only other Grizzly in double-digits with 10 points.
Bear Creek, which won it’s second-consecutive league championship just last Monday with a 55-43 win over Tacoma Baptist, finished the season with an outstanding record of 20-3.
Although the Grizzlies’ season is over, the team was presented with a number of Sea-Tac 2B all-league honors for their outstanding performance on the court.
Jamie Meyer, who averaged a league-best 22.7 points per game, was named league MVP for the second straight year. Junior guard Kyle Blankenbeckler was named to the first team, and Peterson earned an honorable mention.
Bear Creek coach Scott Moe was named the Sea-Tac 2B League Coach of the Year, and his Grizzlies also were bestowed with the sportsmanship award.
On the girls’ side, Bear Creek senior post Alexis Miller and junior post Tajel Mehta both earned first-team all-league honors.
Bear Creek had defeated the Saints twice in league play this season, 44-33 on Friday, Jan. 30 and a 58-33 thumping on Saturday, Feb. 7.
QUILCENE UPSETS GRIZZLIES
Overtime. No word sounded better to Bear Creek boys’ basketball coach Scott Moe during the final seconds of the Grizzlies’ Tri-District tournament opener against Quilcene at the Bear Creek School on Thursday night.
With the score tied 46-46 with 16 seconds left on the clock, the Grizzlies were just hoping to come up with a defensive stop.
As the Rangers moved the ball around looking for an open man, guard Nate Burlingame saw a window of opportunity as a sea of Grizzlies converged on him.
He dished the ball to his teammate, senior Chris Bacchus, who then put up the shot of his life.
The 6-foot-3 forward swished a 12-footer from the right side as the clock hit zero to give Quilcene a 48-46 win and left the Grizzlies stunned in defeat.
“That was a tough shot the kid hit it,” Moe said of Bacchus’ last-second heroics. “I feel bad for our guys because they’ve worked extremely hard. That was a tough one to take.”
Up until the middle of the third quarter, the game belonged to the Grizzlies.
Bear Creek started the second half with a 6-0 run to widen its lead to 33-23, and then the momentum — and the lead — started to slip away from the Grizzlies.
Nate, the son of Quilcene head coach Brad Burlingame, went on a tear, scoring nine points in the quarter including a steal that led to a three-point play after Nate was fouled going to the hoop.
The Rangers carried their momentum on to the fourth quarter, going an incredible 6-for-6 from the field while the Grizzlies shot a mediocre 4-for-10.
Unlike many other teams in the very diverse Sea-Tac 2B league, Quilcene was able to pressure the Grizzlies defensively, causing the Grizzlies to make an uncharacteristic amount of mistakes.
“They’re a tough matchup for us, with their style of play on offense and defense,” said Moe, whose team’s only two losses of the season have come against Quilcene.
Jamie Meyer led Bear Creek with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Lucas Peterson and freshman Aaron DiGenova, who came off the bench to hit two 3-pointers, each scored 10 for the Grizzlies.