Graham-Kapowsin’s Joshua Wood scores over a defender against Glacier Peak Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022, during a Class 4A regional matchup at Everett Community College in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Graham-Kapowsin’s Joshua Wood scores over a defender against Glacier Peak Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022, during a Class 4A regional matchup at Everett Community College in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Glacier Peak boys’ season ends with loss to Graham-Kapowsin

The Grizzlies cut a late 11-point deficit to make it interesting, but fall 58-56 in the state tournament loser-out game.

EVERETT — At one point late in the fourth quarter, the Glacier Peak boys basketball team clanked four 3-pointers off the rim in one possession.

It was simply that type of night for the typically sharpshooting Grizzlies.

And against a talented and athletic opponent, their perimeter shooting woes proved too much to overcome.

No. 10-seeded Glacier Peak fell behind early and trailed the rest of the way, suffering a season-ending 58-56 loss to No. 15 seed Graham-Kapowsin in a Class 4A loser-out state regional game Saturday night at Everett Community College.

“For whatever reason, we just did not shoot the ball very well,” Grizzlies coach Brian Hunter said. “We’ve relied a lot on the three this year, and it’s served us well throughout the season. … I thought we got good looks. We just didn’t knock them down.”

With the victory, Graham-Kapowsin (13-10) advanced to next week’s Hardwood Classic in the Tacoma Dome. It will be the Eagles’ first Hardwood Classic appearance in their program’s 17-year history. They will face No. 7 seed Davis in Wednesday’s first round.

For Glacier Peak (14-7), the loss ended a streak of four consecutive Hardwood Classic appearances. The Grizzlies reached the first round of the Hardwood Classic in 2017, 2018 and 2019 and took a 25-0 record into the 2020 4A state semifinals before finishing with a fifth-place state trophy.

“It’s brutally tough,” Hunter said of reaching the Tacoma Dome. “We’ve been fortunate. The last four seasons before this year, we’ve been able to finish our season in Tacoma — which I think every program would tell you that’s their goal.

“If you get to the point where you’re playing in the (state regionals or) in Tacoma, that’s special. Those are really difficult things to attain.”

Graham-Kapowsin was led by senior guard Joshua Wood and junior guard Elijah Cain, who scored 16 points apiece.

Wood, a Fresno State-bound quarterback, helped lead the Eagles’ football team to a 4A state title this past fall. He also starred in the G-K football team’s dramatic win over the Georgia 7A state champions in a nationally televised GEICO State Champions Bowl Series game in mid-December.

And on Saturday, the dual-threat quarterback showcased his talent on the hardwood.

Wood sent a Glacier Peak defender stumbling to the floor on a stepback 3-pointer. He expertly dished several nice assists. And in the closing minutes, he came up with a steal and an emphatic dunk that helped serve as the exclamation mark to the Eagles’ historic win.

Cain also played a massive role for Graham-Kapowsin, scoring 11 points in the third quarter with a series of tough drives and finishes in the paint.

“Graham-Kapowsin definitely has athletes,” Hunter said. “They’ve got some kids that have experienced some big moments, and I think that served them well. They had some kids that were kind of ready to step up on a big stage.”

The Eagles also dominated the rebounding battle for most of the night, finishing with six putback baskets. Gabriel Rzany, a 6-foot-7 junior post, had three putback baskets for Graham-Kapowsin and scored all eight of his points in the first half.

“Our lack of being able to keep them out of the key and keep them from second-chance opportunities were really the telling thing,” Hunter said.

Standout senior wing Bobby Siebers led Glacier Peak with 21 points. Senior guard Aidan Davis added 13 points and senior forward Torey Watkins scored 11 for the Grizzlies.

Glacier Peak made only one 3-pointer in the game’s first 31 minutes and trailed 52-41 with less than two minutes to play. The Grizzlies trimmed the final margin with two 3s in the final minute, including a three-quarter-court heave at the buzzer.

But the buzzer-beater did little to dull the Eagles as they celebrated their first-ever trip to the Tacoma Dome.

“This is a big year for those guys, winning a state football title (and) doing what they did on the basketball court,” Hunter said. “… So a lot of credit to them for what they were able to accomplish.”

Hunter praised his six seniors for enduring the COVID-19-related disruptions of the past two seasons, as well as a season-ending ACL injury to starting senior point guard Adam Thomas in mid-January.

“It’s a special class that had to deal with two years that nobody should have to deal with,” Hunter said. “And to come in and compete and to maintain a level of success that we’ve kind of grown accustomed to is a credit to those guys (and) what they’re about.”

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