TACOMA — In it’s first ever trip to the 3A state tournament, the Glacier Peak boys basketball team had to adjust to a lot of new experiences, but one stood out as most difficult.
The anticipation proved to be more difficult than Franklin Pierce, the Grizzlies’ first-round opponent in Wednesday’s opening round of the tournament at the Tacoma Dome. Glacier defeated the Cardinals 59-45 in the first boys game of the day.
“I couldn’t wait,” senior guard Drew Cummins said. “I kept waking up all night waiting for the alarm clock to go off. I fell asleep and woke up at least 20 times.”
When the alarm clock sounded at 6 a.m. and when the ball went into the air three hours later, it was clear that energy and motivation would not be an issue for the Grizzlies, who last played a week ago in the District 1 championship game.
Glacier Peak (20-5) jumped on the Cardinals (17-9) early in the first quarter. Brandon Hill came off a screen to make the Grizzlies’ first shot of the tourney, sparking a 9-0 run. The 3-point field goal hit the bottom of the net less than two years since the ribbon was cut on the new high school in Snohomish.
“We were pumped,” said junior Payton Pervier, who scored eight points for Glacier Peak and blocked nine shots, one off the 3A state tournament record. “We were excited, couldn’t wait … There’s nothing better than a state game.”
Glacier Peak’s run was the first of three alternating runs of at least 7-0 by each team in the quarter. The Grizzlies had the first and last and led 16-9 after one quarter.
In the second quarter, the Grizzlies’ height advantage became more and more of a factor. The 6-foot-11 Pervier had three offensive rebounds and two blocks in the period while 6-foot-4 swingman Jack Bonner had game-highs in points (eight) and rebounds (five) at the half. The Grizzlies also held a 24-12 rebounding edge at intermission and led 32-17.
The Cardinals featured a lightning quick backcourt, but their roster listed no player taller than 6-foot-2. Franklin Pierce tried to press the Grizzlies throughout the game, but unlike many teams with size inside, Glacier Peak likes to run too.
“One of our strengths is that we have a lot of guys that can handle the basketball,” Glacier Peak coach Brian Hunter said. “We feel like when teams press us that is an opportunity to score … I felt like we did a good job of that. We didn’t get tight.”
In the week off between games, the Grizzlies staff got to check out the West-Central bi-district tournament and watched a few potential state opponents including the Cardinals. That homework showed in the first half.
“We put some time in and some effort in trying to figure out what they wanted to do,” Hunter said. “We tried to take their best away and make them do what they don’t want to do.”
The Cardinals adjusted in the second half, sparked by guard Jamar Murray, who came off the bench to score a team-high 16 points and make of four five 3-pointers.
Franklin Pierce managed to trim the deficit to 11 at 50-39 with three minutes 36 seconds to play, but Pervier wouldn’t let them get closer. He putback his own miss to push the lead to 13, but it was his defensive presence that was most intimidating.
Pervier blocked seven of his nine shots in the second half and his presence made the Cardinals think twice about trying to penetrate. On multiple occasions, Pervier rejected shots on consecutive Franklin Pierce possessions.
“It was definitely a factor,” Hunter said of Pervier’s shot blocking. “Even if he doesn’t block a shot, he is there. He is going to alter and change those shots.”
Guaranteed at least two more games in the tournament, including today’s 3:30 p.m matchup with Lakes, a 79-66 winner over defending champ Franklin, Pervier has a chance to make a run at the 3A record for blocks in a single tournament (22). Bremerton High’s Marshaun Thompson established that mark in 1999.
Hill led the scoring for Glacier Peak with 16 points while Bonner recorded a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Cummins finished with eight points, seven rebounds, three assists and three steals.
At the Tacoma Dome
Franklin-Pierce—Murray 16, Bowden 8, Hamlin 11, Benton 3, Lee 3, Hogan 0, Bolte 0, Mims 4. Glacier Peak—Persha 3, Hill 16, Southard 8, Cummins 8, Manning 0, Kiser 6, Bonner 10, Pervier 8. 3-point goals—Murray 4, Hill 3, Hamlin 3, Persha 1, Lee 1. Records—Franklin-Pierce 17-9 overall. Glacier Peak 20-5.