TACOMA — The Tacoma Dome will be missing Clark County representation at the state basketball tournaments.
The Columbia River boys basketball team — the county’s last shot in either 4A or 3A boys and girls basketball — fell short of the ultimate destination Saturday night in the Class 3A regionals, falling to Lincoln 55-35.
“We did what we could,” senior Rian Bassett said. “They’re just a really good team. I think they’re going to take the state title. I don’t think anybody can stop them.”
Columbia River’s effort to stop the Abes never really materialized. The Chieftains scored four points in each of the first two quarters, falling behind by 18 points.
After the game, the Chieftains said they were satisfied with their second-half performance, even if they never seriously mounted a rally.
“I’m proud of the way we played in the second half,” said Bassett, who scored all nine of his points in the final two quarters. “I just wish we could have started out like that.”
Isaiah Smith led Columbia River with 16 points, 14 in the second half.
“All four years of my career, we improved,” said Smith, the school’s all-time leading scorer.
The Chieftains failed to make the district tournament in his first two years of varsity. Then last year, the Chieftains won the district tournament. This season, the Chieftains repeated at district and came one game short of the elite eight at the dome. Their season ended with a 17-7 record.
“It was a fantastic experience,” Smith said.
Columbia River coach David Long said River’s draw was tough from the start of the bi-district tournament.
“I’m real proud we are even here tonight playing this game,” Long said. “We’re here.”
All of the Chieftains knew they needed a near-perfect game to stop the Abes.
“That team is just so loaded. A tough, tough road for us,” the coach said.
Still, Long said his team did a good job defensively in that first half. The Abes needed to beat the buzzer on a 3-pointer to get to 26 points.
However, the Chieftains turned the ball over 12 times in the first half and went 3 for 19 from the floor for their eight points.
“I think our kids were a little hesitant, a little intimidated, and that was disappointing,” Long said. “We’ve played teams like this.”
Columbia River looked a little more like Columbia River in the second half. Bassett had two dunks, Smith had eight points, and the Chieftains outscored the Abes by one in the third quarter.
“We looked like a good basketball team in the second half,” Long said. “Unfortunately, so did they. We couldn’t get close to them. They’re very, very gifted.”
Tre’Shaun Fletcher, who has signed with Colorado, scored 14 points to pace the Abes. He also had 10 rebounds and four steals. Ahmaad Rorie, a junior who has already told California he will sign with the Bears next school year, added 12 points.
The game opened at River’s pace, with no scoring for almost three minutes. Nathan Hawthorne had two assists on River’s first two baskets as the Chieftains grabbed a 4-2 lead. It was all Lincoln after that. The Abes scored the next seven points to end the first quarter.
Devin Bolds would score for River to open the second quarter, but Columbia River would not make another shot from the field until the third quarter. The Chieftains went scoreless for 6 minutes and 43 seconds before two free throws by Torey Jones just before halftime.
The Lincoln lead grew to 20 early in the third quarter before River got its offense going a bit, keeping it within that 17- to 20-point range.
“We were playing some good basketball,” Smith said. “Unfortunately, we had to play Lincoln in the state regional round.”
LINCOLN 55, COLUMBIA RIVER 35
COLUMBIA RIVER — Devin Bolds 2, Bryan Wyche 0, Nathan Hawthorne 0, Torey Jones 4, Isaiah Smith 16, Rian Bassett 9, Clark Bryant 2, Justin Gwinn 0, Eli Evenson 0, Chandler Holt 0, Lance Voorhees 0, Dallin Scheidel 2. Totals 14-42 (1-12) 6-9 35.
LINCOLN — Latravion Satterwhite 6, Tre’Shaun Fletcher 14, Dionte Simon 0, Justice Martion 4, Ahmaad Rorie 12, Ar’Mond Davis 8, Josiah Barsh 7, Joshua Eckwood 2, Semaj Booker 0, Jusstis Warren 2, Kashwan Johnson 0, Cameron Collins 0. Totals 22-56 (6-14) 5-9 55.
Columbia River 4 4 15 12–35
Lincoln 9 17 14 15–55