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Quick start, strong finish; Wolverines roll in home playoff win | Boys Basketball
The Wolverines needed just eight minutes to take command of the scoreboard, but it would take another three quarters and a bit of a boost from a near-capacity crowd in Turnbull Gym before they could call the first post-season game played in Friday Harbor in more than a decade — their own.
Clinging to a 5-point lead at the start of fourth quarter, Friday Harbor held regional 1A rival Nooksack Valley to just 10 points in the final period of play to clinch a 64-51 victory at home, Wednesday, and advance into the next round post-season play. They face Tacoma's Life Christian on the road, Saturday, in the opening round of the Tri-District tournament; tip off is 7 p.m.
"The crowd was definitely like a 6th man out there for us, especially in the fourth quarter," senior point-guard Dakota Rosales said. "Our game plan was to keep them in front of us, hold them to just one shot and get the ball inside to our big men."
Mission accomplished, for the most part.
Friday Harbor's big men combined for nearly half of the team total. Sophomore Otis Cooper-West tossed in a game-high 18 points, including seven straight at a pivotal point in the third period, and junior Collin Williamson tallied 12. The two low-post players have found their groove, Williamson said.
"Me and Otis have been practicing on our high-low game since the spring," said Williamson, who will face his former Life Christian teammates in Saturday's playoff contest. "Its basically like second-nature for us now. We know where each other are."
Friday Harbor (16-5) led 21-10 after the first quarter and went into the locker room with a 33-25 advantage at the half. The Pioneers, looking to avenge a one-point loss to the Wolverines on their home court earlier in the season, quickly stormed back into the game after the break. They trailed by only three points, 44-41, near the end of the third period.
Head Coach Rod Turnbull credits the home crowd for helping the Wolverines raise their intensity with the game on the line in the final quarter.
"I think the crowd really helped out in the fourth quarter," Turnbull said. "You saw a lot of those 50/50 balls out on the court and our guys really battled for it."
Nooksack Valley's B.J. Salmonson scored a team-high 11 points, but was the only Pioneer in double digits at the end of the game. Friday Harbor's C.J. Woods contributed 11 points and junior Donald Galt tossed in 10 before being sidelined with an ankle injury late in the fourth period. He is expected to be on the court for Saturday's game.