Two of the most premier basketball programs in the Northwest were set to tip off in an opening round match-up at the Tacoma Dome on Thursday morning.
Both Bothell and Garfield were ranked inside the top three in the 4A state rankings heading into the tournament; a random draw paired the two teams up for a dynamic opening round match up.
These two teams are very familiar with each other, they have played twice previously in the season, and many of them have played AAU on the same team.
Bothell’s senior stud Zach Lavine, who will be playing his college ball under the helm of Ben Howland at UCLA, has no hard feelings against the opponents even after Garfield handed them two loses previously in the season.
“We’re all good friends, I’ve know them since back when I played at Rotary, it was a good hard fought game.”
That so game Lavine mentioned was the one that he had just played in, the third and final matchup against his cross-town rival, and his last chance to keep his hopes alive to bring a state championship back to his school.
Early in the game it looked as if the Bulldogs were going to tromp the Cougars; Lavine couldn’t buy a bucket and the defense of Garfield was disrupting the Bothell offense.
Travante Williams came out strong for the Bulldogs, going on a couple mini runs of his own early on in the first half.
However, junior big man Josh Martin had the play off the day, which would change the momentum.
On a Bothell missed shot Martin crashed the boards hard from the top of the key and tip-dunked it home over a small group of Garfield players.
This got the electricity in the building notched up a bit, players started trash talking and even the fans got involved with “we cant hear you” chants.
To get the second quarter underway the third member of Bothell’s big three had his first impact play.
Perrion Callandret drove baseline and went up high for the one handed slam.
At this point in the game tides look to be turning, cause Lavine had found his stroke as well.
It took two free throws to get him started, but on the immediate possession after that, Lavine came down and pulled up in the defenders face and saw the ball tickle the twine.
Bothell went on to own the quarter, outscoring the Bulldogs 22-13 in the period and heading into the locker rooms with a 30-26 lead.
Bothell found a way to lose all the momentum in the same fashion that they gained it all in the first half, on a dunk.
This time Callendret when up for a dunk and got rim-jected, and ended up on his back.
This failed dunked, followed by a few skeptical calls by the refs swung the momentum back in favor of the Bulldogs.
Travante Williams picked up where he left off in the first half, pulling down offensive rebounds and going up strong to score.
A Williams’ bucket gave Garfield a lead they wouldn’t relinquish the rest of the way out.
With Lavine trying to force the issue, forcing up shots and looking pressed in the offense Garfield slowly started to pull away.
The other factor was that Bothell couldn’t stop Tucker Haymond from scoring in the second half. They had locked him down in the second but their wasn’t a way to stop him and Williams from getting their points.
“We knew they were gonna have to double one of us, so we were just waiting. Either they’re coming to me, (so Haymond) go get your shot off, they’re coming to you (Haymond), swing it back; we were ready for anything,” Williams said.
Garfield knew they had what it takes to dethrone a three-headed dragon, so they stuck to their previous game plan.
“That’s still Bothell, we’re still Garfield, we had the same game plan, we just had to execute, X’s and O’s to get the job done,” Williams said.
A steal by Demario Hall that led to a three-point play the old fashion way sealed the deal for the Bulldogs, who went on to win 62-50.
Williams notched a double-double with 21 points and 12 rebounds. Lavine led the Cougars with 12 points in the game that he thought should have been played on Saturday night.
“We were thinking that should be the championship game, but whomever won that game pretty much should win it all, best of luck to them”, said Lavine.
Williams had other thoughts about the game however.
“This is step one to many, we cant take any days off, we cant get to excited about this win, it was a good win but know its over, on to the next one,” Williams said.
Garfield will go on to play Curtis, Friday afternoon, while Bothell will be sent to the losers bracket and have to play Newport at 9:00 AM.