TONASKET – Tonasket thought it had the game-winner after John Stedtfeld’s 15-foot jumper with five seconds left gave the Tigers a 58-57 lead.
But in a confusing scene that led to a wild finish, the Billy Goats took advantage of a curious decision by the officials, and Rylan Easter made the Tigers pay by draining a buzzer-beating jumper of his own.
Tonasket coach Glenn Braman, who couldn’t comment on the officials’ decision without risking a reprimand from the WIAA, didn’t want his team to dwell on the bizarre finish.
“The game is sum total of everything that leads up to those final seconds,” Braman said. “Everyone will remember that last play, but it wasn’t any more important to winning or losing the game than the early turnover, the missed free throw, or the missed boxout that gave them a rebound.
“It’s all those plays put together that led to the loss. If we make some of those earlier plays, we’re not in that situation at the end.”
That situation got muddled when Pateros coach Mike Hull called a time out after Stedtfeld’s hoop gave Tonasket the lead. With the resulting crowd noise, neither the players nor those at the scorer’s table heard the official’s whistle, so when Pateros inbounded the ball the clock wound down to 1.1 seconds before play was stopped with the ball nearly at mid-court.
The officials correctly ruled that the clock needed to be reset to five seconds. But instead of having to inbound the ball from under their own basket, the Billy Goats got the ball at mid-court, where the game had been stopped after the four seconds that ran off the clock after the time out had been called.
Braman protested for a moment but took a seat when it became clear that he risked picking up a technical.
Easter had been a thorn in the Tigers’ side all night long, and the Billy Goats sprung him free for the game-winning 12-footer.
“They’ve got a 30-year veteran on the bench (Hull) who knew what to draw up,” Braman said. “We just need to suck it up and regroup. We battled, and so did they.”
The Tigers, who had been shooting nearly 50 percent from 3-point range through their first four games, were off the mark with their perimeter shooting this time out. Pateros, however, was in a groove as Easter, Blayne Harvey, and sophomore Lance Evans – who didn’t play in the teams’ first meeting – strafed the Tigers for nine treys. The Billy Goats (1-2) hit five 3-pointers in the second quarter as they took a 26-18 lead, but the Tigers, instead of relying on their outside shooting, got the ball inside to Zac Davis for six straight points to get back in it.
Michael Orozco came off the bench to spark the Tigers with 10 points, and Stedtfeld scored 14 of his 20 points after halftime, including go-ahead baskets on three occasions in the fourth quarter.
Harvey’s triple gave Pateros a 57-53 lead with under three minutes left, but consecutive clutch hoops from Orozco, Dyllan Gage and Stedtfeld had the Tigers (3-1) on the edge of victory.
Harvey led all scorers with 21 points, with Easter adding 17, Evans 11 and Carlos Ceniceros 10.
Tonasket 85, Bridgeport 27
The Tigers blasted to a 30-6 lead after one quarter and rolled to a 58-point, 85-27 victory over Bridgeport on Tuesday, Dec. 6.
The number that pleased Braman the most, even more than the decisive victory, was the 28 assists recorded on the team’s 34 made baskets.
Dyllan Gage had nine assists, John Stedtfeld added eight and Damon Halvorsen had five to lead the way.
“We played very well,” Braman said. “Shooting was on again, and teamwork was at an all-time high. Everyone contributed to a great defensive and offensive effort.”
Five Tigers scored in double figures, led by Stedtfeld and Zac Davis with 17 points apiece. Trevor Terris added 13, Halvorsen tallied 12 and Gage provided 11 points.