KENT — On the same floor, at the same stage where one year ago the Hockinson boys basketball season ended in heartbreak, the Hawks experienced much happier emotions.
This time, their shot at reaching the quarterfinals of the Class 2A state tournament was on target.
Making 33 of 39 free throws, the Hawks defeated Foster of Tukwila 64-53 on Saturday in a state tournament regional game at Kent-Meridian High School. The win means the Hawks will be in Yakima on Thursday for a state quarterfinal game.
Jack Klodt scored 24 points and Alan Haagen added 22, and Hockinson stayed a step ahead of Foster in the second half to achieve a goal the seven Hawks seniors have shared since middle school.
"It was kind of weird sitting in the same spot, just thinking about last year and that we can't let it happen again," Klodt said. "It was something to think about, but I thought we did a good job of not thinking about last year and focusing on today."
That focus was particularly obvious at the foul line. Klodt made all 15 of his free throws and Haagen was 13 for 14. The Hawks attacked the basket often, putting the Bulldogs into foul trouble early in a game that was called tight by the officials.
"Very impressive," Hockinson coach Trevor Person said. "Give credit to the boys. They just do a phenomenal job of focusing in practice and really valuing free throws."
Person was also impressed with his team's defense, which focused on taking away dribble penetration and challenging Foster's 3-point shooters. The Bulldogs finished 7 for 24 from long range.
"Coach has been driving it into us to keep the guys in front of us," Taylor Rennaker said. "That was something that we really focused on today. I think we did a pretty good job of keeping guys in front and not allowing penetration that (Foster) relies on."
At the offensive end, Hockinson used the Bulldogs quickness against them.
"It took a little while to get used to their quickness," Haagen said. "We figured it out after a while and found the open guy more, and the back-door was wide open."
Hockinson built a nine-point lead early in the third quarter, and looked like it might take command then as a series of back-door cuts produced layups and free throws. But Foster made a push late in the quarter to get within three points.
Klodt then hit perhaps the biggest shot of the day, draining a difficult 3-pointer from the corner off an inbounds pass. The shot came at the third-quarter buzzer and made the score 43-37.
"I cut to the corner, they got me the ball. I thought I got fouled on the way up," Klodt said. "It was a pretty cool 3 though."
And Saturday was a very cool performance from the Hawks, who didn't let memories of a three-point loss to Sequim in this gym one year ago distract them.
"There's always pressure, and I think this added a little more knowing this is where we got knocked out last year," Rennaker said. "But I think everyone was just looking to get redemption."
HOCKINSON 64, FOSTER 53
HOCKINSON — Jack Klodt 24, Alan Haagen 22, Taylor Rennaker 6, Jess Krahn 4, Taylor Ellensohn 0. Jared Broer 0, Brian Prigmore 3, Littleton Davidson 5, Austin Steimle 0. Totals 13 (5) 33-39 64.
FOSTER — Cory Covarrubia 12, Max Montoya 4, Connor Forsyth 5, Patrick Straight 4, Rashad Sang 4, Ben Mitchell 10, Sam Woldemariam 9, Ronnie Roberson 5. Totals: 13 (7) 20-26 53.
Hockinson 10 18 15 21--64
Foster 9 11 17 16--53