At the moment when panic could well have been setting in, Andrew White calmly lined up a shot from behind the 3-point line Friday.
“I caught it in rhythm,” White said after providing the biggest basket of the night in host Evergreen’s 48-38 boys basketball victory over Battle Ground. “Coach always says if it’s within our range and the pass is going from inside out, let it fly. So that’s what I did.”
White’s shot with 1:40 to play helped stem an inspired Battle Ground rally. The Tigers (12-10) had pulled within two points at one juncture after trailing by 13 late in the third quarter.
But when White gave the Plainsmen (11-10) a 43-36 lead with their only 3-pointer of the night, they were headed for the championship game of the Class 4A district tournament.
Evergreen will play at top-seeded Union at 6 p.m. Saturday. Battle Ground will move into next week’s bi-district tournament as the No. 3 seed from District 4.
“I always tell kids if they’re in balance and within their range, then shoot,” coach Brian Witherspoon said. “Time and score, probably not the best shot.”
But it was one that Evergreen desperately needed.
Holding Battle Ground to 5-of-28 shooting from the field in the first half, the Plainsmen built a 20-14 lead. It was 33-22 by the end of the third quarter as the Tigers continued to have trouble finding the basket but Evergreen had difficulty holding onto the ball.
“The difference is we couldn’t hit the ocean,” Battle Ground coach Gregg Kalian said. “We had great looks; we just didn’t finish.”
The Tigers went 1 of 16 from 3-point range and 11 of 51 overall (22 percent) from the field. Evergreen was 1 of 9 from 3-point range, 17 of 42 overall, and committed 19 turnovers.
But after Evergreen built its lead, Battle Ground started to find its range. Led by Jamie Ford, who scored 11 of his team-high 13 points in the second half, the Tigers closed to within 38-36 with 2:41 to play.
Free throws by Jahmil Johnson and a rebound basket by Robert Franks combined with White’s shot to help Evergreen regain control. Johnson finished with a team-high 13 points, while Franks and Andrew Morris added 10 apiece. Morris credited the win to a players-only meeting prior to the game.
“We talked about how everyone on our team has the ability to be a high point scorer and we need to share the ball,” he said.
That strategy paid off when White found himself open late in the game.
EVERGREEN 48, BATTLE GROUND 38
Battle Ground — Jamie Ford 13, Damien Ford 1, Daniel Duong 4, Jake Sachen 0, Trevor Ingram 0, Kevin Hayes 4, Miles Luke 12, Josh Lemar 4, Devin Johnson 0. Totals 11-51 (1-16) 15-19 38.
Evergreen — Connor Finnegan 2, Jalen Ballard 6, Jahmil Johnson 13, Trent Foster 0, Robert Franks 10, Andrew Morris 10, Andrew White 7. Totals 17-42 (1-9) 13-16 48.
Battle Ground 10 4 8 16–38
Evergreen 12 8 13 15–48