AUBURN — Playing in the program’s highest-stakes game of the past decade, the Ridgefield boys basketball team went cold at the wrong time.
The Spudders shot 2-of-18 from 3-point range and had 17 turnovers, many of them self-inflicted, during Saturday’s Class 2A state opening round 49-33 loss to Enumclaw at Auburn High School.
“Obviously (we) didn’t show up on offense today,” Ridgefield coach Jason Buffum said. “For us, that’s a difficult thing to swallow because we pride ourselves on executing and having good efficiency.”
Ridgefield (13-11), which was playing in the program’s first state game since 2012, was left wondering what could’ve been in a game that was within striking distance until the fourth quarter. But moments after the game ended, the team left no doubt the season was a success.
After graduating a big senior class last season, Ridgefield had just one rotation player, Sid Bryant, returning for the 2022-23 season. By the season’s end, the Spudders built a cohesive group that lacked experience but emerged as a tough team to beat, particularly in the postseason.
“At the end of the day we had one guy back from last year,” Buffum said. “That was the message — ‘you guys changed the culture that we’ve been trying to change for seven years.’ We finally broke through to get to the final 16 and we had a good matchup.”
Bryant, who led Ridgefield with 15 points in his final game for the Spudders, was at the forefront of several runs, albeit short-live ones, throughout Saturday’s game.
Back-to-back Bryant baskets in the second quarter brought Ridgefield within two points, before Enumclaw (21-3) closed on a 7-2 run going into halftime.
In the opening minutes of the third quarter, Bryant again strung together two baskets that put the Spudders down just 28-25.
“For a guy who’s not a basketball-first guy, he’s an incredible athlete and he’s a sponge,” Buffum said. “You tell him to do something and he does it. At one point this year he told us, ‘unless I’m in foul trouble, don’t sub me out. I don’t need to come out. I can play the entire game.’”
The Spudders were sunk by another forgettable closing quarter when Enumclaw finished the third on an 8-0 run, capped off by a fadeaway bank shot from Noah Seabrands at the buzzer.
The Hornets’ 40-27 lead to start the fourth remained at double-digits for the final eight minutes.
Seabrands led Enumclaw with 14 points.
Ridgefield will graduate Bryant, Damion Jiles, Carter Thompson and Jalen Dunn, a group that brought a lot of toughness and grit to this year’s team. The returning group led by Cole Chester, Landon Kelsey, Colton Warren and Colten Castro, whose season was cut short with an ACL injury, will have big shoes to fill, Buffum said.
“(We) just got to keep moving forward and keep moving in the offseason,” Buffum said. “These guys are grinders. I live right by the high school and they’re always begging me to get in the gym.”
ENUMCLAW 49, RIDGEFIELD 33
RIDGEFIELD (13-11) — Sid Bryant 15, Colton Warren 3, Jamison McCann 0, Cole Chester 5, Landon Kelsey 6, Carter Thompson 0, Drew Krsul 0, Jack Hughes 0, Jalen Dunn 0, Mason Curran 0, Damion Jiles 4. Totals 15 (2) 1-4 33.
ENUMCLAW (21-3) — Carter DeRosier 7, Travis Leonard 0, Evan Cheney 0, Noah Seabrands 14, Liam Leonard 0, Garrison Shatswell 0, Jason Feddema 0, Wyatt Neu 6, Landon Brauer 0, Karson Holt 11, Ty Hanson 6, Austin Pierce 4. Totals 21 (4) 3-4 49.
Ridgefield 9 8 10 6—33
Enumclaw 11 13 16 9—49