Wednesday’s 2B Boys BB: MWP’s Defense Steps Up in Second Half to Eliminate Friday Harbor
MOVING ON: Poquette Scores 28, T-Wolves Use 15-0 Second-Half Run in 48-40 Play-In Win
By Aaron VanTuyl
SPOKANE — As the old basketball saying — recited by Morton-White Pass senior Matt Poquette on Wednesday — goes, defense travels.
Even if, during the first half of their State 2B tournament play-in game, the Timberwolves may have still been digging for it at the bottom of their duffle bags. Friday Harbor came out of the gates hot and, at one point in the second quarter, had a 13-point lead on MWP, the No. 5 team in the state’s RPI rankings.
The lead didn’t make it through the third quarter. The Timberwolves held Friday Harbor to 9 points in the second half and ran away with a 48-40 win to secure entry into the double-elimination state tournament.
“It’s a big relief,” Poquette, the Timberwolves’ 6-foot-6 Central Washington University-bound star, said. “I wasn’t ready to be done, so we’re at least making it to the weekend.”
The key, MWP coach Tony Gillispie said, was defense. That was, naturally, the subject of the team’s halftime discussion, at which point they trailed 31-23.
“We said if we get stops and play defense the way we can play, we can work our way back into it,” Gillispie said. “Even though our offense was struggling, too, I knew if we could get enough stops and generate a little bit of points we could work our way back into it.”
The defense did its part. Friday Harbor led 36-27 with 5:44 left in the third quarter, but Kaleb Rashoff picked a Wolverine guard and went the other way for a layup to kick off a 15-0 run that covered eight full minutes of game time.
That included Poquette, who finished with a game-high 28 points, hitting a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from the top of the key to tie things up at 36-36 after three quarters. Poquette layed the ball up early in the second quarter to give MWP its first lead since early in the first quarter, and on the next possession he threw down a two-handed fastbreak dunk and hung on the rim with one hand to avoid landing on a fallen Wolverine player.
The Wolverines, down 4 at that point, managed just 4 points the rest of the way, though MWP had a 10-point lead with two minutes left to go.
Poquette scored 15 points in the second half, and his experience in Spokane and in big games played a role in the comeback.
“He just put it on his shoulders. The rest of our kids played great defense with him, but on the offensive end we were struggling a little bit,” Gillispie said. “Him staying calm out there and making the big plays was huge, and it helps playing in these games before.”
Poquette went 11 of 18 from the field with nine rebounds, four assists and four steals. Tristan Storey added 8 points and eight rebounds with three blocked shots for MWP, while Rashoff had three steals.
Marshall Clark scored 14 to lead Friday Harbor, with 10 coming in the first half, and Kyle Mapstead added 11. The Wolverines finish the season with a 15-9 record.
Morton-White Pass (21-6) moves on to the state quarterfinals, where it faces Liberty (21-3) at 7:15 p.m. Thursday, back in Spokane. The Lancers are coming off a 45-42 win over Toledo in the regional round.
“They play physical. We usually play that way, too, and I expect it to be a battle,” Gillispie said. “It’s going to be a tough game. Liberty’s good.”
TIMBERWOLVES 48, WOLVERINES 40
Friday Harbor 10 21 5 4 —40
Morton-White Pass 10 13 13 12 —48
Friday Harbor (40) — Chevalier 6, Wilson 4, Black 3, Mayer 2, Clark 14, Mapstead 11
FG: 16 of 43 —.372 FT: 5 of 8 —.625 Reb. 21 (Clark 6)
Morton-White Pass (48) — Rashoff 4, Gillispie 4, Lewis 2, Poquette 28, Storey 8
FG: 21 of 42 —.500 FT: 4 of 5 —.800 Reb. 30 (Poquette 9)