Washington overcame the inside play of Goddard’s 6-foot-8 center Matthew Pile, and the Wildcats rallied from a 12-point deficit in the second quarter in a 69-62 victory Wednesday in the Kansas 5A boys quarterfinals at the Kansas Expocentre.
Washington upended the No. 1 seed, fueled by a 24-point third quarter. The Wildcats, 14-8, advance to a semifinal game at 4:45 p.m. Friday.
With a few seconds left in the game, Washington coach Eric King jumped for joy for what his team accomplished. A year ago, Washington lost in the same quarterfinal round.
“This means a lot because our kids really work hard to represent our school, and we want to show everybody that we have a good product,” King said. “Our guys work hard just like everybody else. We have a great group of kids.”
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Junior 6-foot-3 point guard DeMarco Smith energized Washington. Midway through the third quarter, Washington trailed 41-32. The Wildcats outscored Goddard 16-6 the remainder of the quarter.
“We had a game plan to stop him (Pile) and to just keep pushing the ball,” said Smith, who finished with a game-high 26 points and 15 rebounds.
The Wildcats never trailed in the fourth quarter, partly because they shut down Pile, who scored 14 of his 25 points in the third quarter. Pile also pulled down 17 rebounds.
Washington neutralized Pile’s effectiveness by going to a zone on defense and turning up the pace on offense.
With the game tied at 56 with less than four minutes left, Washington gained momentum on a three-pointer by senior JaMarkus Dawn. Sophomore Randy Campbell followed with a basket, giving the Wildcats a five-point lead that had Goddard in panic mode.
Dawn finished with 11 points, and Campbell and senior Joshua Wilborn each added 10 points.
Mill Valley 55, Salina Central 46
Mill Valley senior Kasey Conklin delivered several three-pointers when his team needed them in the Jaguars’ 55-46 victory over Salina Central in the Kansas 5A state quarterfinals.
Mill Valley, 17-6, will play Washington at 4:45 p.m. Friday in the semifinals. Conklin is a big reason the Jaguars are moving on.
Perhaps his biggest three-pointer came at the start of the third quarter. Mill Valley only scored three points in the second quarter and went into halftime trailing 24-23. Conklin’s three-pointer got the Jaguars back on track offensively and immediately gave them a 26-24 lead.
“I think it was a huge three,” said Conklin, who scored 15 points on five three-points. “With us coming out in the first quarter just blowing them away and then scoring only three in the second quarter, some of us felt a little down. We came out after halftime and knew we had to stay positive. I hit the three, and I think that is what got us going.”
Early in the fourth quarter, with the game tied at 35, Conklin hit his fifth three-pointer of the game. The Jaguars solidified their advantage by scoring four more points for a 42-35 lead. They held at least a four-point lead the rest of the way.
Kapaun-Mt. Carmel 55, Bonner Springs 51
Bonner Springs scored the first four points and then watched Wichita Kapaun-Mt. Carmel score 11 of the next 12 points. The Braves never recovered, falling 55-51.
Bonner Springs entered the Kansas 5A quarterfinals as the No. 2 seed, but poor shooting prevented the Braves from advancing to the semifinals. Bonner Springs made 32 percent of its shots from the field.
The Braves, who finished the season 20-3, looked like they were off to the races when seniors Devante McGee and Antonio Roark each scored a basket before a minute ticked off the clock. But over the next four minutes, Bonner Springs managed just one free throw, and the Crusaders took an 11-5 lead.
It wasn’t until two minutes remained in the game that Bonner Springs got as close as three points, at 47-44. The Braves had an opportunity to get closer but missed a shot in the paint.
McGee led the Braves with 13 points.