1A Boys Regional: Meridian Headed To SunDome After 63-57 Win

The next stop on the Meridian boys basketball team’s comeback tour: the Yakima SunDome for the Class 1A state tournament.

The 10th-seeded Trojans continued their storybook journey with a 63-57 victory over Life Christian Academy in the state regional on Friday night, Feb. 23, at Mount Vernon High School.

By winning the loser-out contest, Meridian (14-11) advances to the round of 12 and will play on Wednesday, Feb. 28. The Trojans will face the loser of Saturday’s Lynden Christian-Seton Catholic game in another loser-out contest.

“The resiliency they’re showing during the playoffs and running the gauntlet of the Northwest Conference… these guys are on Cloud 9,” said Meridian coach Shane Stacy, whose team needed a last-second, come-from-behind win in the district finale just to qualify for state.

For the Essential Fans Guide to the Class 1A boys state tournament, check out Fans Guide.

As expected against the 15th-seeded Eagles from Tacoma, who were also facing elimination, Friday night’s contest was hard-fought.

The Trojans used a 21-point first quarter to take command early but Life Christian held Meridian to nine points in the second quarter to only trail by three at intermission. The Trojans clung to the three-point margin going into the final period, but needed to score 19 points and go 6-for-6 from the free throw line to hold off the Eagles.

“They were a real scrappy bunch,” said Stacy of Life Christian. “We had a couple of double-digit leads … as much as 15. But they kept coming back and got it down to five (at the end).”

Meridian got big games from seniors Christian Clawson and Taran Burks, who had 15 and 11 points, respectively, and who combined for 12 points in the Trojans’ big opening quarter. Clawson also had six points in the final period.

“Our seniors showed up to play,” said Stacy, who also praised Cohen Fuller and Jacob Amundson for their contributions.

Showing some of the resiliency that Stacy mentioned were juniors Talon Jenkins and Jaeger Fyfe. Jenkins’s only points in the first half came on a 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer but he had nine huge points in the final period and finished with 13 points.

Fyfe didn’t have a field goal in the first half, but came out in the third quarter with a pair of 3s and eight quick points to push Meridian’s lead to double figures. He would finish with 14 points and sink all six of his free throws as the Trojans went an impressive 12 of 13 from the line.

“I was proud of Jaeger’s resiliency after a quiet first half,” said Stacy. “For him to come out and score eight straight points in the first two minutes (of the third period) was a huge boost to us. He has the utmost confidence in himself, and we do, too.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: A special thanks to Averi Evans for the photos. For a lot more from the game, be sure to check out ByAveriViola.com.

Meridian 63, Life Christian Academy 57

Life Christian Academy    12       15       14       16—57

Meridian                            21         9       14       19—63

Life Christian Academy: Toves, Boyd 19, Johnson, Imperial 20, Wilborn, Hampton 4, Noonan 6, Costanti 8, McKnight.

Meridian: Jenkins 13, Fuller 4, Fyfe 14, Short, Amundson 3, James, Burks 11, Hayes, Brzozowski, Clawson 15, Hedahl 2, Payne.


Friday, Feb. 23

Meridian 63, Life Christian Academy 57 (winner to state tournament, loser out)

Zillah 65, Tenino 39 (both to state tournament)

Saturday, Feb. 24

#7 Seton Catholic (17-5) vs. #2 Lynden Christian (21-2) at Lynden HS, 2 p.m. (both to state tournament)

#5 Seattle Academy (15-6) vs. #4 Freeman (20-2) at Weset Valley (Spokane) HS, 2 p.m. (both to state tournament)

#6 Royal (20-5) vs. #3 Annie Wright (21-1) at Tacoma CC, 4 p.m. (both to state tournament)

#16 Lakeside (Nine Mile Falls) (11-13) vs. #9 King’s (15-8) at Shorewood, 4 p.m. (winner to state tournament, loser out)

#13 Sultan (15-6) vs. #12 Montesano (19-6) at Tumwater HS, 4 p.m. (winner to state tournament, loser out)

#14 Bellevue Christian (14-9) vs. #11 Riverside (17-6) at West Valley (Spokane) HS, 6 p.m. (winner to state tournament, loser out)

Jim Carberry of Whatcom Hoops

Jim Carberry is a former Bellingham Herald sports editor and author of several books on Whatcom County prep basketball. Follow him on Twitter @whatcomhoops and visit the Whatcom Hoops Facebook page.

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