EASTSOUND — Although the Darrington boys basketball team struggled for most of the season, it still had a chance to qualify for the 2B Bi-District playoffs with a win over Orcas Island on Friday.
Instead, Jack Gates scored 34 points for Orcas and the Loggers’ season ended with a 57-54 loss in a Northwest 1A/2B/1B contest.
Eric Meece scored 22 points and Tyler Simmons added 20 for Darrington (2-5 league, 3-17 overall) but the Loggers couldn’t stop the Viking junior.
“Jack Gates was running a high pick and roll,” Darrington coach Cam Ross said. “When our guys would step and hedge, we were giving him too much space. … Gates can shoot well from the outside.”
The Loggers had a chance to tie the game after Orcas Island (2-5, 3-8) missed two free throws, but couldn’t convert a 3-point attempt from the top of the key with three seconds remaining.
But Ross said the critical play occurred two minutes earlier when the Loggers, down two points, forced a missed shot. But the rebound trickled out from inside the key to Orcas Island’s Chase Drake standing at the 3-point line. Drake knocked down the 3-pointer for his only field goal of the game. That stretched the lead to five.
“That was one of the killers for us,” Ross said of the play.
After enduring a 10-game losing streak in the middle of the season, Darrington won two of its last three games to put itself in playoff contention, only to see the Vikings snatch the last district berth. Still, Ross was proud of the improvement his team showed, even if it came a bit too late.
“The boys finally in the last couple of weeks had come together to play as a team,” Ross said. “Too bad it took them this long,”
At Orcas Island H.S.
Darrington—Tyler Simmons 20, Austin Edwards 2, Cory Lucas, Nolan Meece, Trent Green 6, Felipe Valencia 2, Eric Meece 22, Colin Davis 0, Josh Wiegand 2, Andrew Young 0, Tim Kruger 0. Orcas Island—Ryan Date 4, Chase Drake 4, Wayne Foster 0, Jack Russillo 2, Herbie Sisson 0, Jack Gates 34, Devon Stanzione 0, Daniel Briggs 0, Jake Zier 13. 3-point goals—Meece 4, Drake, Gates 3. Records—Darrington 2-5 league, 3-17 overall. Orcas Island 2-5, 3-8.