TACOMA — Even a full-court shot from Jordan Chatman couldn’t keep Union in the hunt for a state title.
The Titans lost 52-51 Friday to Central Valley of Veradale in the semifinals of the Class 4A boys state basketball tournament at the Tacoma Dome. Union will face Bellarmine Prep of Tacoma at 1 p.m. Saturday for third place, while Central Valley will face Davis of Yakima for the title.
For Union, it was only fitting that Chatman threw in a shot at the buzzer to make it a one-point game. The Titans survived a one-point overtime victory against Jackson of Mill Creek in the quarterfinals, and they won back-to-back one-point games in capturing the 2010 state title.
Friday, they came out on the other end of a nail-biter.
“We just didn’t execute defensively,” said Chatman, who finished with a game-high 29 points. “We played hard, but it just wasn’t enough to get it done.”
The difference, both coaches said, was Central Valley’s ability to handle Union’s pressure defense.
“I knew we had the ability to do that; I thought that would be the key,” Central Valley coach Rick Sloan said. “We have a lot of senior leadership, and I thought our sophomore point guard, Adam Chamberlain, did a great job.”
Central Valley routinely broke Union’s full-court pressure and set up in a methodical half-court offense. That resulted in a balanced attack led by Gaven Deyarmin’s 11 points.
“If you had told me we would only force 10 turnovers,” Union coach Maco Hamilton said, “I would have been shocked.”
Union led 15-14 after one quarter, but Central Valley took command in the second period and built a 29-23 halftime lead.
The Bears held the lead the rest of the way, building a 51-39 advantage with two minutes to play.
But Union wasn’t finished.
Chatman made a runner, Tanner Nelson made a runner, and when Chatman got a steal and a 3-point play with 18 seconds to go, Union was within 52-46.
Still trailing by six points, Chatman banked in a long shot from the top of the key with 1.3 seconds to play. The scoreboard initially indicated that it was a 3-pointer, but officials ruled it a 2-pointer, bringing Union within four points.
Video replays indicated that the shot should have been counted as a 3-pointer.
Central Valley then missed two free throws. When the rebound bounced to Chatman on the side of the key, he heaved in a 3-pointer at the other end of the court.
But it was too little, too late.
“Tonight, we weren’t efficient in what we do,” Hamilton said. “We didn’t do the things we do well.
“The effort was great, though.”
CENTRAL VALLEY 52, UNION 51
UNION — Dionte Ceaser 0, Kyle Mercer 0, Tyler Copp 0, Dominique Ceaser 0, Brian Cairns 0, Seaver Whalen 1, Tanner Nelson 12, Jordan Chatman 29, Trent Cowan 2, Kaben Humphrey-Butler 5, Gabe Rego 2, Micah Merfeld 0. Totals 19-49 (5-20) 8-13 51.
CENTRAL VALLEY — Eli Wiecking 0, Adam Chamberlain 9, A.J. Knudsen 0, Austin Rehkow 6, Phil Terrell 0, Dustin Dach 6, Garret Sawyer 7, Beau Byus 4, Ryan Deckard 0, Danny Nimri 4, Anthony Brommer 5, Gaven Deyarmin 11. Totals 15-45 (6-17) 16-24 52.
Union 15 8 11 17 — 51
Central Valley 14 15 11 12 — 52