Shorecrest’s Philip Pepple (top left) attempts a shot with Edmonds-Woodway’s Michael Epoch (5) and Ryan Peterson (40) defending during a state regional playoff game Feb. 25, 2017, at Bothell High School. Shorecrest won 74-63. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Shorecrest beats Edmonds-Wooodway in elimination playoff game

BOTHELL — In a back-and-forth battle between two evenly matched teams, Shorecrest had a little too much firepower down the stretch for Edmonds-Woodway to overcome and the result was a 74-63 Scots victory in a Class 3A boys basketball regional playoff game Saturday afternoon at Bothell High School.

The outcome sends Shorecrest (22-2) on to the Hardwood Classic next week at the Tacoma Dome. The Scots will face Stanwood at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday in the loser-out rubber game of a three-game season series. Stanwood won the first meeting in the regular season, 75-61, and Shorecrest the rematch for the district championship, 55-52.

Edmonds-Woodway had its season end, but the 18-6 Warriors went down swinging. In a game with eight lead changes and six ties, Edmonds-Woodway had its last lead early in the fourth quarter, but the Warriors kept the pressure on until the final seconds.

“They’re a very good team,” said Scots coach Brian Fischer. “They put a lot of pressure on you, and it takes a lot of guts and effort to hang in there and not let them run away with it. But we stayed tough (down the stretch), protected the basketball and got us a win.”

In a game of runs, Shorecrest had the first one with a 14-2 first-quarter flurry. That turned an early 3-2 deficit into a 16-5 lead, and at that point it looked like the Scots might turn the game into a rout.

But Edmonds-Woodway had other ideas. The Warriors drew within 17-9 at the end of the quarter and in the second period they unloosed a 3-point barrage, converting six shots from behind the arc in the quarter, including three by guard Mike Epoch in the space of 2½ minutes. The last was by guard Noah Becker and it dropped through just before the halftime horn, giving Edmonds-Woodway a 32-26 margin at the break.

The teams traded leads through the third quarter, but early in the fourth Shorecrest took the lead for good. Edmonds-Woodway was within three points, 59-56, inside of three minutes, but from there the Scots began to pull away. Shorecrest protected its margin by going 10-for-10 at the free throw line in the closing moments, including eight free throws from guard Chris Lee.

“We showed a lot of fortitude for hanging in there when (the Warriors) made their runs,” Fischer said. “They’ve got a lot of guys that can play and you know they’re going to go on some runs. You’ve got to be able to weather them and our guys did.”

“We were in it until the end,” said Edmonds-Woodway coach Robert Brown. “A couple of different bounces and we might have been on the (winning) side. … We gave a great effort, but we just didn’t make the shots we needed to make.”

For Shorecrest, a trip to the Tacoma Dome will be another step in what has been “an outstanding season, a dream season,” Fischer said. “This is just a real exceptional group of guys. They show up every day, they work really hard, they like each other and play for each other, and that’s why they’re doing as well as they are. I’m just so proud of them.”

For Edmonds-Woodway, the loss was a disappointing end to a fine season. The Warriors lost twice to both Shorecrest and Stanwood, had two other non-conference defeats, but otherwise won every game.

“To get to this point, I’m not ashamed of anything they did,” Brown said of his players. “I’m proud of every step they made and I’m proud to have been there with them. There couldn’t be a better bunch of kids that you’d want to do it with.”

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