High School Basketball

Richland was ready for another overtime, but Gonzaga Prep was ready to end it

Video: Anton Watson sends Gonzaga Prep to state title game with last-second 3

Anton Watson drained a last-second 3-point shot to lift the Gonzaga Prep Bullpups to a 53-50 overtime victory against the Richland Bombers on Friday in the WIAA 4A state basketball semifinals
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Anton Watson drained a last-second 3-point shot to lift the Gonzaga Prep Bullpups to a 53-50 overtime victory against the Richland Bombers on Friday in the WIAA 4A state basketball semifinals

Friday will go down as another epic chapter in the basketball rivalry between Richland High School and Gonzaga Prep, but another one that didn’t finish in the Bombers’ favor.

Anton Watson drained a 3-pointer just before the buzzer to lift the Bullpups to a 53-50 win over the Bombers in overtime in a WIAA Class 4A semifinal game at the Tacoma Dome.

“Coach came up to me after the game and said ‘Hey, welcome to man camp,’ ” Richland senior center Riley Sorn said. “You’ve gotta learn how to lose these tough games. We’ve got another one tomorrow that we can’t just look over. We’re still playing for something.”

It’s the fifth time Gonzaga Prep and Richland (ranked Nos. 1 and 2 in the final TNT poll) have met in the past two seasons, and the fifth victory for Prep.

“They’re spirited kids from storied programs,” Richland coach Earl Streufert said when asked about the budding rivalry. “Can’t take anything away from our guys. My gosh, they fought like crazy. Super proud of ‘em. I’m just disappointed for our seniors that they’re not stepping on that floor tomorrow at 3 (for the championship game).”

Watson led the Bullpups with a game-high 21 points, adding 10 rebounds. Garrett Streufert had 13 points and 13 boards for Richland, while Cole Northrop led the team with 16 points.

Streufert sent the game into overtime when he hit a triple with 10 seconds remaining in regulation to tie it at 48-all.

“I’m really happy he hit the shot, for us, but I don’t really get wrapped up in what my kid does on the court. Except maybe when he makes a bad play,” said Earl Streufet, Garrett’s dad.

“I got pretty excited there,” Sorn said. “It was such a clutch shot.”

TNT_Richland_Gonzaga_Prep_0(2)
Gonzaga Prep’s Anton Watson (32) and Devin Culp (20) celebrate Watson’s game-winning three point shot. Richland played Gonzaga Prep in a semifinal bracket game at the Hardwood Classic state basketball tournament at the Tacoma Dome in Tacoma, Wash., on Friday, March 2, 2018. Joshua Bessex joshua.bessex@gateline.com

Tied at 50 in overtime, Richland inbounded the ball with 22 seconds remaining. After struggling to beat the Bullpups’ press, Northrop got an open 3-point look early in the clock, but missed it. Watson made the Bombers pay for that on the other end when he caught an inbounds pass with less than 3 seconds on the clock, turned and buried his game-winning 3 from the left wing.

“When I shoot a last shot, I don’t think it’s going to miss,” Watson said. “It felt really good.”

Prep was the aggressor early on, contesting everything at the rim and putting together enough early offense to go up 12-4 out of the gate and 15-6 at the end of the first quarter.

But Richland started to get shots to fall in the second quarter, and Sorn began to impose his will on the defensive end — eventually finishing with a game-high four blocks — helping to key a 10-2 run (part of a lengthy 25-6 stretch) to end the second half, giving the Bombers a 26-23 edge at intermission.

TNT_Richland_Gonzaga_Prep_0(2) (2)
Gonzaga Prep's Jamaari Jones (24) goes up shot a shot around Richland's Riley Sorn in the third quarter. Richland played Gonzaga Prep in a semifinal bracket game at the Hardwood Classic state basketball tournament at the Tacoma Dome in Tacoma, Wash., on Friday, March 2, 2018. Joshua Bessex joshua.bessex@gateline.com

Like usual in this series, it seemed like whichever team was able to establish itself in the paint had the advantage. Sorn had his swats, but Watson won his fair share at the rim as well, putting together a highlight reel of spectacular dunks, some with the 7-foot-3 center right in his path.

“It was super aggressive, it was a good battle,” Sorn said. “I got dunked on a couple times, but I’m good with that. All around it was a great game. They’re just such a physical team, they’re so long and athletic that it’s tough to just power through inside.”

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G-Prep (26-0) will meet Federal Way (27-1) at 3 p.m. Saturday in the 4A championship game.

For Richland (24-2), it’s another trip to the third-/fifth-place game where it will meet the upstart Lewis and Clark Tigers at 1 p.m. Saturday. Richland fell to G-Prep in the same consolation game last year, 64-57.

“It’s hard to say, it’s definitely hard to say,” Sorn said of telling the team about the importance of the third-place game. “But you’ve gotta be the guy who comes and gets your team boosted up like that, and that’s an important thing is getting the guys boosted up for tomorrow.

“And next year, those juniors are gonna have a great team too, so you’ve gotta be an example.”

RICHLAND: Wagar 4, Cody Sanderson 11, Garrett Streufert 13, Cole Northrop 16, Sorn 6, Guice, Mitchell. Totals: 19-51 7-9 50.

GONZAGA PREP: Parola 4, Lloyd 9, Lockett 7, Jamaari Jones 10, Anton Watson 21, Culp 2, Drynan. Totals: 20-60 9-17.

Richland

6

20

13

9 2

50

Gonzaga Prep

15

8

13

12 5

53

Highlights — R, Streufert 13 reb, 3 ast; Riley Sorn 7 reb, 4 blk. GP, Jacob Parola 3 stl; Sam Lockett 3 stl; Jones 13 reb; Watson 10 reb.

Dustin Brennan: 509-582-1413, @Tweet_By_Dustin

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