SHORELINE — For two teams with state aspirations, Tuesday night’s Wesco 3A showdown felt like a postseason affair.
Philip Pepple and Chris Lee combined for 58 points as Shorecrest remained unbeaten in Wesco 3A play with a thrilling 82-79 win over visiting Marysville Pilchuck in a clash between two of the league’s top teams.
“That was just two teams getting after one another,” Scots coach Brian Fischer said. “Great players on both sides of the basketball just giving it their all. A lot of big plays, some great shooting, physical play inside. That was just a fantastic basketball game.”
Shorecrest (10-2 overall, 5-0 Wesco 3A) and Marysville Pilchuck raced up and down the court, trading baskets at a feverish pace while showcasing their offensive talent and individual starpower.
“It was cool to see a high-caliber, playoff-style (game),” Tomahawks coach Bary Gould said. “Two really good teams going at it back and forth. Man, if I paid five bucks to watch that, that’s pretty entertaining for five bucks.”
Pepple, a 6-foot-9 forward, used his height advantage to dominate the interior with 31 points and 19 rebounds. It matched a season high in points for the senior standout, who made numerous putbacks and hit several off-balance 15-footers.
Pepple also energized the crowd with a pair of dunks, including a thunderous one-handed slam in the fourth quarter.
“He had a very, very special night,” Gould said.
Lee, a senior point guard, added 27 points for the Scots. He sank four 3-pointers, banking in a deep 25-footer at the third-quarter buzzer.
“They have a lot of experience in big games, and they absolutely stepped up tonight,” Fischer said of his standout senior duo. “They were ready for the stage. I couldn’t be more proud of those two guys.”
Marysville Pilchuck junior RaeQuan Battle scored 10 of his team-high 23 points in the first quarter. Senior point guard Josiah Gould added 22 points, with many of his baskets coming on tough drives to the hoop.
Sophomore Luke Dobler scored 15 points and senior Kobe Baumann chipped in 11 for the Tomahawks (9-3, 3-1), who finished with 11 3-pointers.
After trailing for nearly the entire second half, Battle trimmed Shorecrest’s lead to 70-69 with an acrobatic reverse lay-in midway through the fourth quarter.
Then after Pepple answered with his emphatic one-handed slam, Marysville Pilchuck sophomore Aaron Kalab drained a game-tying 3-pointer.
But Lee answered right back, hitting a 3 that gave the Scots a 75-72 edge with three minutes to play.
Shorecrest pushed its lead to seven points with 1:30 remaining, but the Tomahawks refused to cave. Battle came up with a key steal and lay-in, and Baumann hit a corner 3 to trim the deficit to 80-79 with 19.8 seconds to play.
Then after Lee made one of two free throws, Pepple grabbed a key rebound and was fouled. He followed by hitting one of two free throws to make it 82-79.
Marysville Pilchuck then missed a pair of 3-pointers in the closing seconds as Shorecrest prevailed.
“Both teams played extremely well,” Fischer said. “I think we were just lucky to grab the lead at the end and hang on.”
The Tomahawks stormed to an early 25-12 lead with five first-quarter 3-pointers, but Shorecrest capped the opening period with eight straight points to close the gap to 25-20.
“I didn’t even call a timeout in that stretch,” Fischer said. “I just had some faith in our guys that if we stuck to the game plan (and) kept getting out on shooters, things would even out a little bit. By the time the dust cleared and the quarter ended, I knew that we were right there. We weathered their big storm.”
Lee scored 11 points in the second quarter, helping the Scots pull in front for a 46-41 halftime lead.
Marysville Pilchuck briefly held a one-point edge late in the third, but Shorecrest answered with an 11-3 run, capped by Lee’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer that gave the Scots a 66-59 lead entering the final period.