TACOMA — The Union Titans gave a state championship-worthy effort after it was impossible to win a state championship.
That’s how the team got to roll home to Clark County with a fourth-place trophy and two wins at the Class 4A boys basketball state tournament.
The Titans rallied from a second-half deficit for the second day in a row, topping Issaquah 60-57 in the fourth-place game Saturday morning in the Tacoma Dome.
Nico Bricker’s steal and assist to Keithen Shepard with 95 seconds to play gave Union its first lead of the game, and it gave the Titans another memory.
Union trailed by 12 points in the second half against the Eagles, a day after rallying from eight points down in the final three minutes to beat Lewis and Clark.
“We’re just such great friends out there,” Shepard said. “Everyone trusts each other. We know we have to do whatever it takes. We have each other’s backs.”
“All of us had no doubts in our minds,” Bricker said. “We knew if we could just keep chipping away, chipping away at the lead, we were going to get back in this game.”
The Titans made 9 of their first 10 free throws in the fourth quarter to get closer. Denis Kirichenko’s basket made it 55-54, but Issaquah would take a 57-54 lead on a Tanner Davis score with 3:23 to play.
That was it for Issaquah.
Bricker scored to make it a one-point game. Cameron Cranston, who led Union with 20 points, made a free throw with 1:48 to play to tie.
That set up The Working Man, as his teammates describe Bricker.
“We been practicing that press all year. I read the steal coming. I got a good bounce on the ball,” Bricker said, noting how close he and the ball were to being out of bounds. “I saw Shep going down the floor … he made an amazing man-finish.”