EVERETT — Elijah Johnson and Parker Baumann were not going to let Shorecrest’s season come to an end prematurely.
Johnson and Baumann combined to score 20 fourth-quarter points, and the Scots overcame a double-digit fourth-quarter deficit to defeat the Stanwood Spartans 59-56 in a Class 3A District 1 boys basketball tournament winner-to-state, loser-out game Saturday at Everett Community College.
Second-seeded Shorecrest, which was one of the favorites to claim the tournament championship, instead found itself on the brink of elimination as Stanwood led most of the way, including 43-33 heading into the fourth quarter.
But Baumann found the shooting touch from the perimeter in the fourth and Johnson went 7-for-7 from the free-throw line as Shorecrest (20-4) advanced to the regional round.
“Heart,” was what Johnson said was the key to the comeback. “It was just heart. We know we’re going to have our ups and downs, but it’s about who has more fight. We wanted it bad. Since the beginning of the season that’s all we’ve been talking about, just getting to the (Tacoma) Dome.”
Johnson finished with 22 points and five assists, while Baumann scored 17 and grabbed 12 rebounds. Newton Pepple added 11 points for the Scots, who likely still need at least one more victory to make it to Tacoma. The Scots came into the postseason with an RPI of No. 14, and only the top eight seeds are guaranteed to play in Tacoma. The seeding meeting for regionals takes place Sunday.
“Honestly, it feels good right now, but my first two years we made it to regionals and then we lost and ended our season short, so I’m still focused,” Johnson said. “I just want to get to the Dome, that’s all I want to do. We’re in regionals and that’s cool, but I want to go to the Dome.”
Kaeden McGlothin had 15 points and nine boards to lead third-seeded Stanwood, which ended its season 14-8. Mack Hepper and John Floyd each chipped in with 11 points.
The Spartans were in control for much of the game. Stanwood created separation in the second quarter by getting hot from the perimeter, with Hepper hitting a pair of pull-up jumpers and McGlothin draining a pair of corner 3s to take a 26-17 lead into halftime. Then after the Scots finally got something going in transition in the third quarter and pulled within one at 34-33, the Spartans again stretched the lead back out thanks to perimeter shooting, with Max Mayo’s 3 just before the buzzer making it 43-33.
But Shorecrest finally found the range from distance early in the fourth, with 3s by Baumann and Kai Cannady getting the Scots back within reach. Baumann’s fadeaway 15-footer gave Shorecrest its first lead of the game at 46-45 with five minutes remaining, and the teams traded scores the rest of the way. Free throws by Johnson made it 57-56 Shorecrest with 40.6 seconds remaining, and the Scots forced three missed 3s — with another pair of Johnson free throws in between — to close out the contest.
“The first three quarters I think we were a little shell-shocked, we struggled to get our shots off,” said Shorecrest coach Eddie George, who credited his team’s defense for the comeback. “But as always my guys are relentless, they come out and play their tails off and they never give up, and we showed that today.”
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