By playing at a deliberate pace, the Columbia River boys basketball team gave itself a shot to knock off fifth-ranked Lincoln of Tacoma on Wednesday.
But the eighth-ranked Chieftains didn't shoot well enough to take down Abes, losing 54-39 in a Class 3A bi-district game played at Hudson's Bay High School.
Lincoln (20-3) used a big fourth quarter to pull away for a win that sends the Abes to the bi-district semifinals and earns them a state regional slot.
Columbia River (17-4) must win two games to qualify for the state regionals, starting with a 6 p.m. Friday loser-out game against Enumclaw in Tacoma. Win that, and River will play a winner-to-regionals game on Saturday.
For 27 minutes, Wednesday's game was following the script the Chieftains had practiced. By limiting its turnovers and limiting Lincoln possessions, Columbia River was owned a two-point lead early in the fourth quarter. Then Lincoln turned up its defensive pressure, and the Abes used their depth and their quickness to win the game.
"They owned the last four minutes of that game. They did a great job," Columbia River coach David Long said. "They played the way that we wanted to be able to play in the last four minutes -- and they hit the shots."
A pair of steals early in the fourth quarter turned up the tempo, and three layups and a 3-pointer in the first two minutes of the quarter had Lincoln feeling better.
"I think we finally wore them down a little bit," Lincoln coach Aubrey Shelton said. "Give credit to them. They're a good team. They fought hard."
Lincoln guard Ahmaad Rorie, who is bound for California in the Pac-12, scored six of his 14 points in the fourth quarter. His steal and layup on the opening possession of the fourth quarter helped change the speed of play.
"We play a lot of guys," Shelton said. "In the fourth quarter the guys rallied and I think the pressure finally got to them, just enough to make a couple layups and then we hit a couple of big 3s and it was just enough."
Lincoln's Josiah Barsh scored all eight of his points in the fourth quarter, when he hit a pair of 3-pointers that sucked the belief from the Chieftains.
Columbia River led 34-32 when Nathan Hawthorne, who scored a team-high 14 points, hit a 3-pointer with 7:26 left in the game. The Chieftains were within three when Spencer Long hit a 3-pointer in transition with 4:54 on the clock.
But River didn't score again. Ultimately, the Chieftains didn't hit enough perimeter shots once the Abes picked up the pace.
Torey Jones scored 10 points for the Chieftains, who got points from eight players. The Abes had six players score at least seven points.
"I can't be more pleased with a loss," David Long said, praising the cay his team competed against a top-notch opponent. "I'm disappointed that we didn't win, but I can't be disappointed with the way the boys played."
LINCOLN 54, COLUMBIA RIVER 39
LINCOLN (20-3) -- Londrell Hamilton 8, Ahmaad Rorie 14, Josaih Barsh 8, Cameron Collins 7, Justice Martion 8, Trevion Brown 7, Justiss Warren 2, Isaiah Smalls 0, Shon Peterson 0, Dionte Simon 0. Totals 22 (5) 5-5 54.
COLUMBIA RIVER (17-4) -- Nathan Hawthorne 11, Joey Bean 4, Andrew Vickers 2, Sam Walker 0, Torey Jones 10, Cody Wolfe 2, Spencer Long 5, Chad Pedigo 5. Totals 16 (4) 3-6 39.
Lincoln 11 11 8 24--54
Col. River 8 13 10 8--39