Members of Edmonds-Woodway’s boys basketball team came into Tuesday’s playoff game knowing that if they won they’d be just two games away from a state berth and if they lost, there season would be over. Jason Smarr’s hot shooting sparked a second-half surge, turning a half-time deadlock into a convincing 55-43 win over the Cascade Bruins.
“ Smarr did a heckuva job, “ said Cascade coach Darrell McNeal of the Warrior guard’s 20 second-half points. “Hats off to him.”
Both teams struggled early in the game, with neither getting much going offensively. Cascade’s Brevin Brown and E-W’s Brady Edwards traded 3-pointers to start the game. Travis Bakken scored back-to-back inside baskets and following another Brown three, made a free throw, putting the Warriors up 8-6. Cascade then went on a 7-0 run before Chukwuma Okereke’s jumper and Smarr’s three ended the streak and the quarter with the teams knotted at 13.
Cascade started the second quarter quickly with another 7-0 spurt, moving ahead 20-13 with 5 minutes left in the second. Following a time-out, Bakken converted twice inside for the Warriors’ first points of the quarter. Isaiah Gotell scored for Cascade before Antonio Sherrill converted for E-W, followed by a 3-pointer in transition by Smarr to close out the scoring, with the teams now tied at 22.
Bakken led the Warriors at the break with nine points and Cascade’s Brown also had nine to pace the Bruins.
The Warriors’ second half lineup featured four seniors and a freshman in Trey Holland. “We made some adjustments at half time, went with a different look,” said E-W Head Coach Steve Call. It seemed to work as the Warriors scored the first eight points of the half, including two 3-pointers by Smarr, who also absorbed a defensive charge. “ I struggled early, but I kept my composure,” said Smarr. “I knew once they (the shots) started falling, they’d keep falling.”
Following a pair of free throws by Cascade’s Justin Gordon, Smarr hit a foul-line jumper, Theo Lebesis scored on a fast-break from Holland and Bakken followed a miss with a make, putting the Warriors up 10 with just over 2 minutes left in the third.
With time winding down in the quarter, Cascade went on an 8-2 run, with the only Warrior points a pair of free-throw by Bakken. Smarr would hit another three as the quarter ended, lifting the home team to a 41-32 lead after the third.
Cascade would score the first points of the fourth but Smarr would answer with his fifth 3-pointer of the night. “Jason got hot tonight,” said Call. A Bakken bucket increased the lead to 12 with 6:20 left in the game but just when it seemed the Warriors were safe, Cascade went on a 9-0 run when Brown made a two-pointer, followed by a three, Cameron Mcgrath hit a three and Benenati a free throw, closing the gap to three.
Those were the last points the Bruins would score, as Jordan Rice hit a clutch three to stop the run. The Warriors scored the last nine points of the game. After Rice’s three, Smarr would scored the last six on a follow-tip and after the Bruins were forced to foul, converting all four free-throws to seal the win. “We had to change our defense to try and stop him,” said McNeal of Smarr. “It didn’t work. It was a hard fought game.”
“They’re a good 3-point shooting team,” said Smarr. “They live and die by the three. Our goal was to try and stop them from shooting them.”
Smarr’s 26 points, including six 3-pointers, would lead the Warriors. He also grabbed 13 rebounds for his first career playoff double-double. Bakken was next with 15 along with eight boards. Tate Budnick was held scoreless, but contributed a personal high eight rebounds along with four assists. Holland dished out eight assists to lead E-W in that category. Brown led Cascade with 14 points.
With the win, the Warriors advance to face Snohomish at 8 p.m. Thursday at Mountlake Terrace, with the winner representing Wesco in the cross-over game Saturday night. The game will be broadcast live on the Sound Live Sports Network.
“I’m happy to still be playing. I want our season to keep going,” said Smarr. “Our goal is State, and we’re still working towards it.”
Warriors scoring: Holland 2, Rice 3, Edwards 3, Budnick, Sherrill 2, Lebesis 2, Campagnaro, Smarr 26, Bakken 15, Okereke