Shorecrest’s Keaine Silimon tries to maneuver around a Stadium player while his pushes to the hoop during the game against Stadium on Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2023 in Shoreline, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Shorecrest’s Keaine Silimon tries to maneuver around a Stadium player while his pushes to the hoop during the game against Stadium on Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2023 in Shoreline, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Shorecrest boys stave off Stadium rally, advance at state

The Scots lead by as many as 16 points in the second half and hang on to win 48-45 to reach Round 2 of the 3A tournament.

SHORELINE — With its back against the wall, the Shorecrest boys basketball team pulled out another win to stay alive in its quest to the Tacoma Dome on Tuesday night.

The Scots drew the 16th seed when the bracket for the Class 3A state regional rounds were announced Sunday, earning home-court advantage against 17th-seeded Stadium of Tacoma.

Shorecrest prevailed 48-45 over Stadium in a highly competitive bout that saw the Tigers claw back from a 16-point second-half deficit. With the win, the Scots moved onto a second round loser-out game against No. 9 Gig Harbor at 8 p.m. on Saturday at Tacoma Community College.

The senior backcourt duo of Parker Baumann and Keaine Silimon came up big for Shorecrest and took many plays into their own hands in both halves.

Baumann offered 16 of his 21 points in the first two periods, adding nine rebounds and three assists overall while Silimon scored eight of his 14 after intermission and the Scots’ ability to buckle down defensively also played a major role in the victory.

“When we stay locked in and just do what we’ve practiced, do what we do at Shorecrest, which is play our defense, hustle, work hard. … tonight that turned into fast breaks and offense,” Silimon said. “We didn’t have to run too many sets because we just ran the floor a lot, it really started from our defense. We knew we had to come out aggressive because we knew Stadium was gonna come out aggressive (too). It’s a loser-out game.”

Silimon added five steals while Baumann had three. Senior wing Adarrius Hilliard had two swipes, and 6-foot-6 post Darek Usitalo came off the bench for three steals as Shorecrest’s 36-20 lead in the third frame proved too tall of a task for Stadium to overcome.

The Scots (17-6) made their initial push in the first quarter, going on a 7-0 run to grab an early 11-8 lead with 1:35 to go. They went into the second with a 16-12 advantage and would build it up before the half.

Freshman guard Brayden Fischer knocked down a 3, putting Shorecrest ahead 25-16 with 4:30 left in the second, and junior Anthony Najera hit a pair of free throws to give the Scots their first double-digit lead of the night at 27-16 with 2:48 left in the half.

At halftime, the Scots led 29-20.

“I thought we did an excellent job on their shooters. They have multiple shooters and a big (NeQuan Brown), and he’s incredible,” Shorecrest coach Eddie George said. “As I mentioned when we played Everett (at districts), as long as we stick to the game plan, everything else will work itself out. And that’s what we did, we stuck together collectively as a group today.”

Brown, a senior, was the driving force in Stadium’s second-half comeback that fell short, putting up 15 points with a game-high 13 boards.

Shorecrest started the third on another 7-0 burst to take a 36-20 cushion as Baumann converted a reverse layin with 4:19 left in the period. The Tigers (15-9) wouldn’t get their first points of the second half until the 2:04 mark of the third when senior Kellen O’Halloran dropped in a 3-pointer.

Stadium rode a quick 10-0 run into the fourth as it trailed 36-30. In crunch time, the Scots faced another rally from the Tigers.

Silimon attacked the basket off a drive, flipping in a running scoop-shot that put Shorecrest back ahead double-digits as they nursed a 42-32 lead with 4:45 to play.

However, Stadium wasn’t done making it interesting. Brown hauled in a defensive rebound and went coast-to-coast, finishing on the other end in heavy traffic to cap a 13-6 run for the Tigers, drawing them within a single possession at 48-45.

Ahead by three with 48.4 seconds remaining, Shorecrest wanted to talk it over. After being unable to score following a timeout, the Scots had to come up on the defensive end to finish things off. They did just that as Hilliard poked away a pass, gaining possession with 16.5 seconds remaining in the contest.

Hilliard was fouled, but missed the free throw on a one-and-one, giving the Tigers one more chance. However, Stadium missed a game-tying 3-pointer from the corner.

Silimon ended up at the free-throw line with 3.9 seconds left in the game, but missed his attempt in another one-and-one try for Shorecrest. Baumann garnered the offensive rebound as time expired and the Scots came away unscathed.

With a state regional win under it’s belt, Shorecrest will go into a win-or-go-home games against the Tides of Gig Harbor having rattled off victories in eight of its past nine games.

“I think it’s gonna be a doozy,” George said. “Gig Harbor plays hard, I think they have a couple of good bigs. But we’re not small either. So we’re gonna come out and lay the cards down and see what happens.”

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