An intense, physical, defensive battle came down to the final seconds on Tuesday night at Sam Benn Gym.
A late fourth-quarter push by Tumwater foiled Addam Follett’s second-half heroics for Aberdeen as the Thunderbirds edged the Bobcats, 50-47, in an Evergreen 2A League boys’ basketball game.
With less than a minute left to play in the game, Follett drilled a 3-pointer from beyond the right elbow to cut Tumwater’s lead to 48-47. A screen set by Deon Schlesser helped Follett get open on the play.
Schlesser came up with a steal on the ensuing Tumwater possession to give the Bobcats the ball with just under 40 seconds left to play.
However, an attempt from beyond the arc by Follett was just off the mark and Aberdeen was forced to foul with five seconds remaining. Spencer LaFrance hit both free throws for the final points.
After calling a timeout, the Bobcats attempted a full-court pass to get off one final shot attempt. However, the pass was intercepted by Josiah Warner and Tumwater drained the remaining few seconds off the clock.
“I thought the kids played a really tough, gritty game,” Aberdeen head coach Leonard Barnes said. “Our kids played really good defense and worked incredibly hard. I don’t want them to hang their heads. This game could have gone either way. There were runs by both teams, unfortunately (Tumwater) made the last run. Our kids played so gutty and I am so proud of them for how hard they played tonight.”
The Bobcats (2-6, 6-9) shot very well from the charity stripe in the game, but only attempted four free throws in the second half. The T-Birds (4-5, 7-10) connected on 10-of-12 second-half free-throw attempts.
“We held them to three baskets in the fourth quarter, but they went 7-for-9 from the free throw line,” Barnes said. “And, we didn’t shoot one free throw in the fourth quarter. The difference in the game was how many more free throws they shot in the second half.”
The Bobcats also connected on only 25 percent of their field-goal attempts.
Tumwater opened the second half on an 8-2 run, which opened up its largest lead, 30-23. David Cooper scored six of his game-high 19 points during that stretch.
However, after struggling to find his groove offensively in the first half, Follett went on a tear that gave Aberdeen the lead back.
Follett led the Bobcats on a 13-2 run that gave Aberdeen a 36-32 lead late in the third quarter. The junior guard scored 11 of his team-high 18 points, recorded two steals and dished out an assist during the run.
“Addam Follett was awesome,” Barnes said. “He’s a tough-minded kid. He stayed confident. In the first half he had several shots that were right there on the rim, but weren’t dropping. We just kept telling him, ‘Those are good shots. Keep shooting. They’re going to fall.’ He found a way to be mentally tough. He really got going and helped us out in the third quarter.”
After Follett’s offensive explosion, the game was back-and-forth. Neither team held a lead greater than four points the rest of the way.
The Bobcats will be back in action on Thursday when they host Chehalis.
Tumwater 10 12 13 15 — 50
Aberdeen 12 9 17 9 — 47
Tumwater (50) – Hastie 4, Boze, Croft 2, LaFrance 12, Buboiski 2, Warner 9, Cooper 19, DeLucco 2, Hare. FG – 18-42 (.429). FT – 12-15.
Aberdeen (47) – Campbell 2, Edwards, Follett 18, Floch 7, Schlesser 8, Cheema, Black 6, Ontiveros 3, Taylor 3, Craig. FG – 16-65 (.246). FT – 13-15.
JV: Aberdeen 64, Tumwater 57. Victor Gomez 14 points for AHS.
C-Squad: Tumwater 49, Aberdeen 48. Ryan Solan 18 points for AHS.