1A Boys State: Meridian’s Season Ends In Shootout Loss

The Meridian boys basketball team saw its exciting post-season run come to an end with a 72-60 loss to Seton Catholic in the Class 1A state tournament on Wednesday, Feb. 28, at the Yakima SunDome.

“If you’d told me in July that we’d beat our rival and get a chance to play in the SunDome…it’s been a really special season,” reflected Meridian coach Shane Stacy, whose team ended the season with a 14-12 record. “I’m just so proud of them all.”

The special season left senior Jacob Amundson with no regrets. “It’s been super fun,” he said. “I’m happy with what we did here.”

What the Trojans — and especially their five seniors — did is return Meridian to the state tournament for the first time since 2020 and only the second time since 2010. They did it through the highs and lows of the Northwest Conference schedule and by coming back to beat rival Nooksack Valley in the last second at district to qualify for state.

Said senior Taryn Burks, who Stacy called “the rock of our team:” “At the end of the day, we accomplished our goal. At the beginning of the year, what all of us had in mind was to get to state.”

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The 10th-seeded Trojans reached the round of 12 in Yakima with a 63-57 victory over Life Christian Academy last Friday advancing them to a loser-out contest against seventh-seeded Seton Catholic.

On Wednesday, Meridian hoped to put the defensive clamps on Seton Catholic’s two best players — little guard Brady Angelo and bruising post Kaiden Wilson — but unfortunately for the Trojans, the Cougars unleashed a torrent of 3-pointers in the first half that put Meridian in too deep of a hole.

Angelo hit five of his six 3-point attempts and the Cougars were nine of 15 from beyond the arc in the first 16 minutes. And instead of a tight defensive struggle, Meridian was looking at a 19-point halftime deficit.

“That’s probably the best shooting you’ll see in the entire tournament,” said Stacy. “And we didn’t shoot that well.”

The Cougars didn’t shoot that well either after halftime. Angelo, who had 21 points at intermission, would only finish with 25. Wilson would go one of seven from the field for the game and finish with 15 points only because he hit 12 free throws.

In fact, the Trojans outscored Seton Catholic in both the third and fourth quarters, but the closest they could get was 12 points in the waning minutes.

Junior Talon Jenkins led Meridian with 25 points and 11 rebounds despite being double-teamed whenever he got within shooting range. Junior Jaeger Fyfe had 11 points before fouling out, Amundson hit three 3-pointers for 9 points, and Burks had 7 points.

While all-Whatcom Hoops guards Jenkins and Fyfe will give Meridian a foundation for another state run next year, on Wednesday Stacy was only looking back at what this year’s team had accomplished.

He praised each of the seniors — Amundson, Burks, Christian Clawson, Cohen Fuller, and Alex Short — for their commitment and contributions.

“I appreciate the positive impact they made on the program,” said the coach. “I think they only won one game as eighth-graders. But they stuck with it. We had a lot of ups and downs this season and to be able to piece it all together and be one of only 12 1A teams left … they were a really special group.”

Burks was given the game’s sportsmanship award for Meridian.

Seton Catholic (18-6) now moves on to play top-ranked and undefeated Zillah in Thursday’s quarterfinal at 10:30 a.m.

Seton Catholic 72, Meridian 60

Meridian             13       11       15       21—60

Seton Catholic    22       21       14       15—72

Meridian: Talon Jenkins 25, Cohen Fuller 3, Jaeger Fyfe 11, Alex Short, Jacob Amundson 9, Canyon James, Taran Burks 7, Damion Hayes, Pierce Brzozowski, Christian Clawson 2, James Hedahl 3, Nate Payne.

Seton Catholic: Tyler Tran 6, Mason Glassmire 4, Brady Angelo 25, Kyler Dixon, Rico George 13, Lance Lee 9, Kiet Nguyen, Simon Sihel, Kaiden Wilson 15, Cole Comfort.


At Yakima SunDome

Wednesday, Feb. 28

Riverside 55, Royal 40 (loser out)

Seton Catholic 72, Meridian 60 (loser out)

Freeman 65, Sultan 31 (loser out)

King’s 45, Tenino 43 (loser out)

Thursday, Feb. 29

#11 Riverside (18-6) vs. #5 Seattle Academy (16-6), 9 a.m.

#7 Seton Catholic (18-6) vs. #1 Zillah (24-0), 10:30 a.m.

#4 Freeman (21-3) vs. #3 Annie Wright (22-1), 12:15 p.m.

#9 King’s (17-8) vs. #2 Lynden Christian (22-2), 2 p.m.

Friday, March 1

Consolation game, 9 a.m. (loser out)

Consolation game, 10:30 a.m. (loser out)

Semifinal, 3:45 p.m.

Semifinal, 5:30 p.m.

Saturday, March 4

Consolation game, 8 a.m. (winner fourth, loser sixth)

Consolation final, 11:15 a.m. (winner third, loser fifth)

Championship game, 7 p.m. (winner first, loser second)

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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