No matter how good of a season you’ve had, the last game is always hard … especially if the season ends on a loss.
There were a lot of tears and hugs as the Sehome boys basketball team saw its season come to an end with a 62-47 loss to Tumwater on Friday, March 4, in the consolation bracket of the Class 2A state tournament in the Yakima Valley SunDome.
“I didn’t see it coming,” said junior Isaac Lawrence said of the postgame emotions. “We had a heck of a run. It was a good year, but a tough way to go out.”
Be sure to visit WhatcomHoops.com for stories and photos from the other state games.
The Mariners finished the year at 16-9, but that wasn’t indicative of their accomplishments.
With only one senior, Sehome reached the District 1 title game and returned to state for the first time since 2015. And even the losses at state were to the state’s best — No.1 North Kitsap, No.2 Lynden, and No.5 Tumwater.
Bringing that state tradition back to Sehome was important to the Mariners’ lone senior, Gavin Ortega.
“I’ve been here four years and state was only for Lynden,” said Ortega, who will go on to play football in college. “The last day of football, I knew I’d play again. But I’ll never play basketball again. It’s an emptiness. But I love every single one of these guys.”
The team’s closeness was important to Lawrence too: “They’ll always be my best friends. We all had each other’s back.”
Friday’s game was back-and-forth until the last two minutes in the first half when Tumwater star Luke Brewer hit a pair 3-pointers to put the Thunderbirds up by eight going into halftime. Tumwater (20-5) quickly got the lead to double digits in the third quarter, and the Mariners couldn’t dig themselves out of the hole.
Junior Grant Kepley, a transfer who had an outstanding first season for the Mariners, led the way with 18 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists.
Lawrence hit two 3-pointers and had 12 points, and junior Mathew Storms had 9 points and a couple of 3s. Ortega made his presence felt inside by grabbing a team-high 7 rebounds, and junior Grey Garrison nabbed 6 rebounds.
Perhaps the most emotional Sehome family was Lawrence’s. His mother, Jennifer, has been suffering with cancer and watched the game from her wheelchair. Yet she managed a loving smile when she and her husband greeted Isaac after the game.
“She means everything to me,” said Isaac. “It puts a lot of things in perspective. I did everything for her this year.”
Tumwater 62, Sehome 47
Tumwater 11 18 19 14—62
Sehome 10 11 11 15—47
Sehome: Isaac Lawrence 12, Grey Garrison 3, Austin McKay, Kai Swanson, Mathew Storms 9, Braddock Duckworth, Gavin Ortega 3, Dane Dominguez, Grant Kepley 18, Eli Daheim, Austin McKay, Kai Swanson, Nathan Eisses 2, Habib Bello.
Tumwater: Luke Reid 2, Andrew Collins 14, Luke Brewer 28, Ryan Otton 4, Adam Overbay 8, Brayden Oram 1, Jake Dillon, Reis Howell, Connor Hopkins 1, Seth Weller, Tanner Brewer 4.
Class 2A boys state tournament
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 2
Prosser 72, White River 67 (loser out)
Port Angeles 63, Franklin Pierce 53 (loser out)
Tumwater 66, Grandview 47 (loser out)
Sehome 42, Lakewood 40 (loser out)
THURSDAY, MARCH 3
Pullman 78, Prosser 48
North Kitsap 75, Port Angeles 58
R.A. Long 61, Tumwater 54
Lynden 72, Sehome 60
FRIDAY, MARCH 4
Port Angeles 70, Prosser 68 (loser out)
Tumwater 62, Sehome 47 (loser out)
Pullman 69, North Kitsap 53, 7:15 p.m.
Lynden 46, R.A. Long 44, 9 p.m.
SATURDAY, MARCH 5
Tumwater (21-6) vs. Port Angeles (20-7), 9:30 a.m. (winner fourth, loser sixth)
North Kitsap (23-4) vs. R.A. Long (21-3), 1 p.m. (winner third, loser fifth)
Pullman (23-2) vs. Lynden (22-2), 3 p.m. (winner first, loser second)