SEATTLE — The Meadowdale Mavericks felt like they were on a magical run that had taken them from the brink of elimination in districts to the third day of the Class 3A boys basketball state tournament.
On Friday, the magic finally ran out for Meadowdale in a 55-43 loss to Renton in a loser-out game at KeyArena.
The Mavericks had to win three straight loser-out games in the 3A District 1 tournament just to qualify for their first state berth since 2004. Trailing Mount Vernon by 10 points in the fourth quarter with a state berth on the line, Meadowdale rallied and eventually won in three overtimes.
On this day, however, the fourth quarter belonged to sixth-ranked Renton. The Indians led by three at the start of the fourth quarter, but Meadowdale quickly cut that lead to one on a pair of Evan Matteson free throws. Renton answered and answered emphatically, going on a 20-4 run over the next seven minutes as Meadowdale struggled to make shots.
But while the loss was disappointing for the Mavericks, a 23-6 season that extended three days into the state tournament was anything but.
“We didn’t shoot the ball well,” said Meadowdale coach Chad McGuire, whose team made 27.8 percent of its shots in the second half and 31.7 percent in the game. “But I’m happy for our seniors. I’m happy for them because they got to experience a state tournament. These are memories that they’ll have for the rest of their lives.”
As Renton’s lead continued to grow, Meadowdale was forced to take risks on defense, trying to spark a comeback. Unlike Mount Vernon, which turned the ball over against Meadowdale’s press in the district tournament, Renton handled the pressure, using team quickness and sharp passing to set up easy layups that put the game out of reach.
“It’s a fine line, like most games,” said McGuire. “Whoever gets that lead with four or five minutes left is in control of the game. We had a couple possessions that we didn’t execute, so we allowed them to get that three-point lead, that four-point lead. Now we’ve got to come out and change things defensively. We had to come out there and attack them. Against Mount Vernon it worked and allowed us to get back in the game. With Renton, they did a nice job of attacking it, so that’s why their run got extended.”
Down 10 with three minutes to play, Meadowdale had to start fouling, and the Indians took care of business at the line, making seven of their last eight free throws.
Renton (23-4) assured itself of placing either fifth or eighth.
Teagan Dooley scored 11 points to lead Meadowdale, and Matt Gorman added 10 points and six rebounds. Joseph Holifield scored a game-high 13 points for Renton and Najee Ali added 11 points and seven rebounds.
“We played really hard today, we have no regrets,” said Gorman. “Things didn’t go our way today, but we had a good season, we had a good run at it, and we’re happy about that.”
Meadowdale trailed by as many as 10 points early in the game, but used a 12-0 run in the second quarter to take a brief lead before Renton went back ahead 26-21 at halftime. A fourth-quarter comeback, however, was not in the cards.
“We played as hard as we could and tried to come back,” said Gorman. “We made our run but just couldn’t do it. Losing like this in the state tournament is always tough. It’s tough ending on a loss, but I think we’re all happy about the season. We did some good things.”
Renton—Lowe 9, Moikobu 1, Ali 11, Ja. Powell 2, Croon, Gunn 9, Quigtar 6, Phillips, Holifield 13, Hackett 4, Jo. Powell. Meadowdale—O’Neill 8, Clampitt 4, Nelson, S. Werner, Gorman 10, Church, P. Werner 2, Dooley 11, Beeson 2, Epstein, Hamlett 1, Matteson 5. 3-point goals—Lowe 1, Quigtar 2, Holifield 1, Dooley 3, Matteson 1. Records—Renton 23-4 overall. Meadowdale 23-6