TACOMA — What few people noticed Saturday is Tanner Toolson was the last Union boys basketball player to exit the locker room, and the senior did so clutching the team’s third-place 4A state trophy.
The victory is great, he said — a 63-49 win over Glacier Peak at the Tacoma Dome — to secure the program’s sixth state trophy in program history, but the trophy represents so much more than third place at state.
“The bond we have on this team,” Toolson said, “and the memories we’ve made and everything we’ve been through together, that’s what it means to me. It’s something special a lot of people don’t get to have.”
What many people did notice on the floor Saturday against the Grizzlies is Toolson chose to wear friend and teammate Brad Lackey’s No. 2 jersey.
Lackey and Toolson became fast friends at Pacific Middle School when Toolson and his family moved to Vancouver from Utah in their eighth-grade year. Lackey hasn’t played since an ACL injury Jan. 28, and it left a void for Toolson.
“When I saw him go down, it was like a piece of me went down,” Toolson said. “I felt like wearing his number would be a good way to represent him at the state tournament. … For this last game, I knew that it’d be something special.”
And it proved equally special for Lackey.
“It’s tough not to be out there,” said Lackey, the team’s senior point guard, “but with how close we are. It just symbolizes that.
Toolson scored 13 of his 18 points after halftime as the Titans built on their 31-19 halftime lead. By the start of the fourth quarter, the lead bloomed to 46-30. Kaden Horn had a game-high 25 points on 10-of-17 shooting.
The game featured two teams that suffered their first loss of the season in Friday’s semifinal.
Their state title dreams were dashed, but that didn’t mean the Titans couldn’t go out as winners.
They did that Saturday leading from start to finish to finish the season 27-1.
“Today was a new day,” senior Ty McCullum said. “We had to fight and get the (win). … there’s a lot to be proud of. I’m proud of the guys in the locker room. We didn’t care about the places; we just knew we were going to fight and have each others’ backs no matter what.”
UNION 63, GLACIER PEAK 49
UNION (27-1) — Tanner Toolson 18, Mason Hill 8, Ariya Briscoe 4, Josh Reznick 5, Kaden Horn 25, Aiden Liss 0, Ty McCullum 3, Izaiah Vongnath 0, Evan Eschels 0, Connor Flannigan 0, Spencer McGuire 0. Totals 32 (10) 9-13 63.
GLACIER PEAK (25-2) — Tucker Molina 10, Tristan Bates 11, Pierce Darlington 0, Brayden COrwin 0, Brayden Quantrille 10, Caleb Lee 1, Bobby Shiebers 13, Jackson Hawkins 2, Tyson Willis 1, Colton St. Jeans 1, Torey Watkins 0. Totals 20 (4) 13-18 49.
Union 17 14 15 17 – 63
Gla. Peak 5 14 11 19 – 49