With one second remaining in the game, all tied up at 56, Lakesides’ best player was standing at the charity strip with the opportunity to win the game and take the state trophy back to North Seattle and out of the case at their Metro League rivals.
Reigning state champion Rainier Beach, and Metro League district champion Lakeside, were facing each other for the fourth time this season on the biggest stage in high school basketball.
With fifteen seconds remaining in the game and Lakeside up two, the Lions senior sharpshooter Matthew Poplawski was sent to the line for a one-on-one opportunity and the chance to give them some breathing room; Unfortunetly for “Pops” he was short on the front end and gave the Vikings hope.
Coach Mike Bethea effortless made the decision to put the ball into senior Will Dorsey’s hands, and he was ready for the opportunity.
“I wanted the ball in my hands, if we’re gonna lose the game I’m the point guard.
That’s what comes with being a point guard, responsibility. If I am gonna be a
responsible guy I got to take the wins and losses.”
Just like Dorsey had been doing all game, he penetrated the defense right in the
heart. Dorsey took a quick dribble to his right, crossed over, and found a little wiggle
room to float into the key and spin in a left handed layup to tie the game up with a
little over five seconds left to play.
Coach Bethea has been preaching to Dorsey all year that he was their go to guy even
though he was often used as the sixth man.
“If we win this state championship this year its your turn, your gonna step up and
we got to ride you. He was more than enough for the challenge,” Bethea said.
However, there was still five point seven seconds remaining in the game and a
spectacular player in the Lakeside huddle ready to shine when the lights were on
Tramaine Isabell has been overlooked quite a bit in his career at Lakeside, and with
this golden opportunity he wanted the rock.
“In my opinion he is one of the top players in the class of 2014. He’s a great player,
and when it comes to the courts he has that respect as a young man and basketball
player,” Dorsey said.
Isabell got the ball on the fly, pushing it into the front court using a couple nifty
moves, and keeping his eye on the prize: the hoop.
Isabell attacked hard and got tripped up by a Rainier Beach player, sending him to
the line for one plus the bonus, and basically the state trophy within his grasps.
A dream come true opportunity for Isabell, on the biggest stage, with the state title
riding on one shot, one free throw that could be a start to his own legacy.
The shot was up, the shot was on line, but the shot was slightly long, rimming off
and sending Isabell to the floor in distraught.
The momentum was immediately in the Vikings favor and coach Bethea could
“When we went into overtime I could see the look in their eyes like we were not
going to be denied,” Bethea said.
Dorsey, who earned himself a starting spot in the championship game, won the
overtime period for the Vikings from the free throw line.
Dorsey scored fifteen points and carried the team on his back in the title game and
showed no added pressure from being inserted into the starting lineup.
“I do whatever my team needs me to do, I got to be sixth man than that’s what I still
got to do. I got to come and play the same way if I started. My coach calls me the
energy guy. I come in and bring the energy for the team,” Dorsey said.
Rainier Beach withstood an incredible comeback from Lakeside and took advantage
of the costly missed free throws down the stretch.
“Sometimes man its better to have some luck than none, we got a little bit of luck to
help us win this one here,” Bethea said.
Bethea used his bench very strategically throughout the contest to help slow down
the dynamic guard play of Lakeside.
“We brought it all year on how deep of a team we are. Those guys stepped up and
showed why we’re a deeper team than we actually are; it’s more than individuals,
we’re a true team,” Bethea said.
Early in the game Beach was smothering Isabell trying to deny him the ball, or force
him to pass it up.
“We know Tramaine is the one that makes them go. We knew we had to limit him
and hopefully wear him down; he is a hell of a player,” Bethea said.
Although Isabell had to suffer the agony of defeat, he is respected throughout the
basketball community. Him and his Lakeside teammates put up a fight for the ages.
“Without a doubt the hardest fought one (title) I’ve ever had. It hasn’t really hit me
yet; maybe in the tomorrow it will start to sink in. It’s more important for the team,
that’s what its all about tonight,” Bethea said.
Next season there will be plenty more battles between these two teams in route to
the Tacoma Dome.