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Seton Catholic tests top-ranked Zillah in 1A quarterfinals

Cougars nearly overcome injury to key player, foul trouble in 56-54 loss

By Micah Rice, Columbian Sports Editor
Published: February 29, 2024, 2:35pm
5 Photos
Seton Catholic's Kaiden Wilson is fouled on his way to the basket by Zillah's Yizzy Sandoval in the first half of a Class 1A state quarterfinals game on Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024 in Yakima.
Seton Catholic's Kaiden Wilson is fouled on his way to the basket by Zillah's Yizzy Sandoval in the first half of a Class 1A state quarterfinals game on Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024 in Yakima. (Micah Rice/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

YAKIMA – Their point guard and best perimeter shooter was out with an injury.

Three others in the starting lineup played most of the fourth quarter with four fouls.

You’d think that wouldn’t add up to Seton Catholic taking the state’s top 1A boys basketball team down to the wire.

But that equation doesn’t factor in the heart Seton showed in the 1A state quarterfinals Thursday at the Yakima Valley SunDome.

The No. 7 seed Cougars gave top-ranked Zillah all it could handle in a 56-54 loss. The undefeated Leopards were in just three other games this season decided by 10 points or less.

Only when Rico George’s contested 3-point shot at the buzzer missed were Zillah and their hundreds on neon-clad fans past the persistent Cougars.

“Everyone in that locker room stepped up today,” Seton coach Donald Wilson said. “I’m proud of each of them. We’ve got to keep pushing forward. We’ve got two more to go. We’ll go back to the hotel, patch up and come back to finish off the season.”

Seton Catholic (18-7) hopes to extend its season for one more day in the fourth-place semifinal against No. 11 Riverside at 9 a.m. Friday.

The Cougars started the second half on a 9-2 run to pull even at 37-37. But during that stretch junior point guard Brady Angelo suffered a nasty poke to his right eye, which quickly swelled shut.

Angelo, who on Wednesday scored 25 points on 9 of 10 shooting against Meridian, held an ice bag to his eye for the rest of the second half.

Wilson said his team drew on lessons it learned early in the season when Angelo and George each missed three games.

“The guys we have, anybody can play a different role any night,” Wilson said. “It’s a good combination of kids to play with because none of them are scared. No fear. We just keep playing.”

Top among those to step up Thursday was Wilson’s son, Trico League MVP Kaiden Wilson. The 6-foot-4 versatile freshman finished with a team-high 20 points and 16 rebounds.

But Wilson started the second half with three fouls. By the early fourth quarter he, George and fellow starter Mason Glassmire all had four fouls in a game where 40 fouls where called (22 against Seton, 18 against Zillah).

The Leopards then made their move. Three straight baskets put Zillah ahead 55-48 with 4:01 to play.

But Seton bounced back. George hit a 3-pointer followed by a Lance Lee driving basket to cut the lead to 55-53 with a minute left.

Kaiden Wilson watched the final 1:55 from the bench. He picked up his fifth foul on a charge that was called after he pulled up for a floating jumper.

Wilson and Seton’s bench were incensed by the call.

“At this point, I’m just glad I can’t get fined,” Donald Wilson said. “But you all saw it.”

After Lee took a charge, George drew a shooting foul. He made one of two free throws to cut Zillah’s lead to 55-54 with 38 seconds to play.

After a backcourt foul reset the 30-second shot clock, Zillah had a chance to run nearly all the time off the clock. Seton fouled with 12.4 seconds left.

After the second of two Zillah free throws were made, Seton quickly drove into the frontcourt. But George couldn’t get a clean look and his shot from three feet behind the 3-point line missed.

Both teams struggled from outside. Zillah shot 3 for 16 from 3-point range and Seton was 6 for 24.

Despite the loss, coach Wilson expects his team to get tougher from the battle scars gained in nearly knocking off a title contender. There are no seniors on this year’s Seton team.

“It’s not where we want to be, but it’s an opportunity to learn and grow since everybody is coming back next year,” Wilson said.


SETON CATHOLIC (18-7) –Tyler Tran 0, Mason Glassmire 3, Brady Angelo 7, Rico George 12, Lance Lee 12, Kiet Nguyen 0, Kaiden Wilson 20. Totals 20-57 (6-24) 8-16 54.

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ZILLAH (25-0) –Yizzy Sandoval 11, Jayden Salme 2, Memphis Jones 0, Brandon Favilla 6, Nakea John 3, Dekker Van De Graaf 7, Nic Navarre 27. Totals 19-55 (3-16) 15-19 56.

Seton Catholic 12 16 16 10—54

Zillah 16 19 12 9—56