<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=192888919167017&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">
Saturday, June 3, 2023
June 3, 2023

Linkedin Pinterest

Seton Catholic boys win 1A state opening round, clinch berth for round of 12 in Yakima

Cougars hold on for 62-53 overtime win against Seattle Christian

By , Columbian staff writer
7 Photos
Seattle Christian players look on as Seton Catholic's Jack Jenniges elevates for a two-handed dunk during a Class 1A state opening round game on Friday, Feb. 24, 2023, at Auburn High School.
Seattle Christian players look on as Seton Catholic's Jack Jenniges elevates for a two-handed dunk during a Class 1A state opening round game on Friday, Feb. 24, 2023, at Auburn High School. (Will Denner/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

AUBURN — As the pressure intensifies in the postseason, the Seton Catholic boys basketball team has found a winning recipe.

With all of the key ingredients, including defensive intensity, making clutch free throws and staying calm in tense moments, the Cougars have advanced further than any prior team in program history.

That much was made certain after Seton Catholic claimed a 62-53 overtime win against Seattle Christian on Friday in the Class 1A opening round of state, which clinched a trip to the Yakima Valley SunDome for Wednesday’s state round of 12.

On the heels of last Saturday’s dramatic win over La Center in the district playoffs, Friday was the second win-or-go-home game of the past week where Seton faced an early deficit, fought its way back and played with poise down the stretch.

“We talk about it before every game — it’s just having mental tenacity,” senior Jack Jenniges said. “They’re going to make shots at the end of the game, they’re going to make it close. At times where it’s tough, we just got to stay true to ourselves, stay poised through it all and keep doing what we do.”

After Jenniges put Seton up by two on an and-one layup, Seattle Christian’s Brett Richard scored a game-tying basket with 38 seconds remaining and the Warriors got the final possesion after an unforced Cougars turnover.

To get to overtime, the Cougars needed a stop. They turned to sophomore Rico George to pick up Seattle Christian’s Jordan Clark as the clock ticked down.

George stuck with Clark, then forced a double team with Breckin Miller. Clark, a Central Washington University signee, put up a contested 3-pointer at the buzzer that hit off the front rim.

“We figured the ball was going to Jordan Clark. He’s a great scorer and it’s hard to stop him,” Seton Catholic coach Aaron Jenniges said. “Rico has really stepped up the last few weeks … he’s (guarded) a lot of really good players, and Jordan is probably even better than them. But, he just locks in, he’s got those long arms and he’s quick enough to stick with them. He stepped up.”

The magnitude of that moment seemed to carry into overtime for the Cougars.

On its first possession in the extra period, sophomore Brady Angelo had the ball well beyond the 3-point line with the shot clock winding down. He fired a shot from deep and bounced around and in to give Seton a 53-50 lead.

More than two scoreless minutes later, sophomore Lance Lee added a layup and the Cougars closed the game out at the foul line by making 7-of-8 free throws in the extra period.

Angelo led the Cougars with 17 points, while Jack Jenniges and Lee each scored 16 points.

“Mainly, it’s composure,” Angelo said. “At the end of the game we’ve hit free throws and (done) those little things that win our games. So as a team, we come together. We know we’re down, but we know we can come back. That’s the main thing, when we go to the free-throw line, we can’t get in our own heads.”

Seton Catholic trailed for the majority of the first half against a Warriors team that came out firing with three 3-pointers in the opening quarter.

Seton closed the second quarter strong and took a 26-26 tie into halftime thanks to a George 3-pointer with under five seconds left in the half.

The Cougars led by as many as nine points in the third quarter before Seattle Christian stormed back to take a 44-41 lead midway through the fourth quarter. The Warriors held the lead until Jenniges’ go-ahead basket at the two-minute mark.

Leading up to Friday’s game, Aaron Jenniges circled back a list of goals players jotted down at the beginning of the season. He reminded them that their goal wasn’t just to get to the opening round of state, but to make the final 12 in Yakima. They succeeded.

Jenniges and Miller, the team’s two seniors, now get to close out their high school careers with a trip to Yakima next week.

The trip is a win-win for the rest of the program too, particularly for its group of underclassmen who will return next season with the experience of a trip to state and understanding what it took to get there.

“I’m just really proud of them, the way they’ve come together from day one,” Aaron Jenniges said. “This is huge in what we’re setting ourselves up for in the future as well.”


SETON CATHOLIC (18-7) — Tyler Tran 0, Ryker Ruelas 0, Brady Angelo 17, Rico George 7, Lance Lee 16, Breckin Miller 6, Jack Jenniges 16. Totals 23 (5) 11-13 62.

SEATTLE CHRISTIAN (15-7) — Eric Lyubarsky 19, Trey Baskett 6, Ethan Collier 0, Ryan Kassebaum 0, Brett Richard 5, Rei Tsukahara 0, Sam Althoff 3, Jack Hilburn 0, Jordan Clark 20. Totals 18 (6) 11-14 53.

Seton Catholic 15 11 13 11 12—62

Seattle Christian 19 7 10 14 3—53