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3A state basketball: Ingraham ends Prairie’s season, 40-36

Falcons fall in opening round of state tourney, end season at 17-10

By , Columbian Staff Writer
Published:
5 Photos
The Prairie bench reacts to a three-point shot in a match against Ingraham during the 3A Hardwood Classic at the Tacoma Dome on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019.
The Prairie bench reacts to a three-point shot in a match against Ingraham during the 3A Hardwood Classic at the Tacoma Dome on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019. (Nathan Howard/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

TACOMA — It’s been a charmed 2019 for the Prairie boys basketball team, and even though the shine wore off on Wednesday, the Falcons walked away from the Tacoma Dome with their heads held high.

Prairie, the seven seed, lost to 10-seeded Ingraham 40-36 in a first round 3A state tournament elimination game, after a back-and-forth finish to cap a season the Falcons started 2-6 and finished winning 14 of their last 16 games.

But the message Kyle Brooks gave to his Falcons, who by their own assessment vastly overachieved this season, did not dwell on the end-of-game particulars.

“They did everything we asked of them to give us a chance,” Brooks said. “Couldn’t be more proud of them. One posession, one way or another we win that game. Walk away feeling pretty good about it. Would you like to have it back? Yeah. But I’m pretty content with the way these guys played this year.”

Osborn concurred.

“Heads up,” senior Kam Osborn said of his coach’s message. “Nothing to get down about. We’re at the highest place of state basketball, so nothing to hang your heads about.”

But that didn’t stop Brooks and his team from reflecting to themselves on a game they were convinced they had, on a stage they were all but pinching themselves for being on.

E’lijah Rabideau scored a layup while being fouled to break a tie and put Ingraham ahead 38-36 with 31 seconds left. Osborn missed a contested jumper and Zeke Dixson pounced on the rebound, but was tangled up in a jump ball. Possession Ingraham, 12 seconds left.

“We could have had that game,” Zeke Dixson said. “It’s just really frustrating. Came down to a few plays at the end.”

Zeke Dixson finished at the rim over 6-foot-10 Mitchell Saxon to give Prairie its first lead with five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.

Before then, Ingraham led off a lead it built in the first quarter of the low-scoring, physical affair. The Rams led by as many as nine in the second quarter, but Prairie pulled within six by the half.

Zeke Dixson finished with 11 points, a team-high. He was the only scorer in double figures, in part thanks to Ingraham’s box-and-one on Osborn (a zone with one roaming defender geared to shut down a team’s primary option).

That nuetralized Osborn, Prairie’s all-time single season scoring leader, to nine points — well below his average.

Saxon had 15 points and nine rebounds, and Rabideau finished with 16 rebounds for the Rams, who advance to Friday’s quarterfinals to face top-seeded Eastside Catholic.

As the Falcons mounted their second half comeback, they deployed Brooks’ advice throughout the season during games they trail: muddy it up.

In other words, win ugly.

“It seems like we do everything right when they said muddy up the game,” Zeke Dixson said. “We slowed down our offense and sped up our defense. It makes their offense crash.”

That enhanced defense defined the second half, according to Brooks.

And it helped the Falcons hold Ingraham to 28.6 percent shooting in the second half (0 of 3 from 3-point range) and fuel their comeback.

“We’ve been in 5, 6 games like that,” A.J. Dixson said. “We’ve come out on top in mostly all of them. I think this is the first game where we’ve been close so it’s really frustrating. We were at the pinnacle of our season and we can’t get it done.”

Osborn, an Oregon Tech signee, finished a decorated career with Prairie, which included recently passing former NBA player and Gonzaga standout Dan Dickau’s single-season scoring record.

After multiple key pieces in the Falcons’ 2017-18 team graduated, Osborn figured the team’s chances of reaching the Tacoma Dome were farfetched.

“I’m not trying to talk down on our players, but I didn’t think we’d get back,” Osborn said, flanked by A.J. and Zeke Dixson nodding in staunch agreement.

17 Photos
Prairie's AJ Dixson runs onto the court at the beginning of the Falcons' game against the Ingraham Rams during the 3A Hardwood Classic at the Tacoma Dome on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019.
Gallery: Prairie vs Ingraham State Basketball Photo Gallery

And with heads held high, the trio of teammates walked side-by-side out of the Tacoma Dome, hoping their frustration of the moment would turn to appreciation of the bigger picture.

INGRAHAM 40, PRAIRIE 36

INGRAHAM — Malik Johnson 7, Mitchell Saxson 15, Cozion Collins 8, Latrell Jones 2, E’lijah Rabideau 6, Charles Putez 0, David Atwood 0, Eyob Hailu 2. Totals 15 (4) 6-10 40.

PRAIRIE — Aidan Fraly 5, Kamerson Osborn 9, AJ Dixson 4, Zeke Dixson 11, Bronson King 0, Thomas Hapgood 3, Mark Frazier 4, Gabe Lilly 0. Totals 14 (3) 5-9 36

Ingraham 16 19 4 10 – 40
Prairie 9 11 6 19 – 36

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Columbian Staff Writer