KENT — One more play. One favorable roll from the rim. One more big finish.
That is how close the Hockinson Hawks came on Saturday to carrying their postseason surge all the way to Yakima.
But a fourth-quarter rally came up just short as the Sequim Wolves escaped the Kent Meridian High School gym with a 51-48 victory in a Class 2A regional state playoff game.
Hockinson was in a hole from the start. Sequim’s Gabe Carter made three 3-pointers and scored 11 of his team’s 21 first-quarter points that gave the Wolves a quick 11-point lead. The Wolves led by 15 at halftime and by 13 late in the third quarter before Hockinson started to rally.
“We had belief the whole time that we could come back,” Hockinson coach Matt Gruhler said. “That’s what we’ve done all year — just grind out games and come back and (rally) when we’re not supposed to.”
A driving layup by Alan Haagen with 1:18 left pulled the Hawks within three points. From there, Sequim missed four free throws and Haagen made a steal. But Haagen had two driving layups spin off the rim, and a contested 3-point try from the right wing by Taylor Ellensohn missed as time ran out.
“Being this close to state stings a lot,” Haagen said. “So we’re going to get after it in the offseason knowing what we can do.”
And knowing they can’t keep falling behind in big games.
“They were hitting a lot of tough shots, and we had 12 turnovers in the first half and that hurt us a lot,” Hockinson’s Jack Klodt said.
Klodt did his part to give the Hawks life. The 5-foot-11 guard, one of eight juniors on this Hockinson team, scored a game-high 25 points. Haagen, another junior finished with 10 points — eight in the fourth quarter — as the Hawks relied on their guards for offense.
Sequim had a slight size advantage inside, and in the first half dominated the paint by changing shots and claiming rebounds.
“I think we were just excited,” Gruhler said of missed shots at the rim. “They were bigger, and we didn’t get any offensive rebounds in the first half and we got seven in the second half. That was more like us.”
Sequim’s Carter did not score after the first quarter as Hockinson’s defensive intensity and execution improved. The Wolves had one field goal in the fourth quarter.
“In the second half we knew who their shooters were and we were going to get out on them,” Klodt said. “We played great defense the whole second half and came back. It came down to the big plays, and they made them.”
Rory Kallappa made six free throws in the fourth quarter to keep the Wolves in front.
With the margin at three points, Haagen twice drove to the hoop inside the final 30 seconds instead of seeking a tying 3-point try. Gruhler said the plan was to extend the game by scoring available layups to keep the pressure on the Wolves to make free throws.
“They missed four big free throws at the end and gave us a chance. That was lucky,” Haagen said. “We just missed on that opportunity. We just didn’t knock it down at the end.”
SEQUIM 51, HOCKINSON 48
HOCKINSON — Jack Klodt 25, Alan Haagen 10, Jess Krahn 0, Wyatt Yearout 2, Taylor Rennaker 5, Casey Turner 0, Nathan Gunderson 3, Taylor Ellensohn 3, Sam Georgioff 0. Totals 18-47 (6-18) 6-7 48.
SEQUIM — Anthony Pinza 9, Rory Kallappa 9, Jason Brocklesby 13, Gabe Carter 11, Alex Barry 9, Donovan Lee 0, Vance Willis 0, Tim Guan 0, Erik Christensen 0. Totals 18-44 (6-16) 9-17 51.
Hockinson 10 7 17 14–48
Sequim 21 11 11 8–51