YAKIMA — The Royal faithful were on their feet for the final two, three minutes. The Knights did everything they could for an encore performance Thursday morning in the opening game of the 1A Hardwood Classic at the Yakima SunDome.
But there was just no bringing down the House. Northwest School House guard Jamie Cockburn drained a 3-point shot from the top to tie the game with just under four minutes left and Gabriel Rolden-Barrios gave Northwest (19-4) the lead with another 3-point goal on the ensuing possession, 47-44.
That short little offensive burst was enough and Northwest School held off Royal 50-46 in the quarterfinals Thursday morning.
“We weren’t intimidated by our surroundings at all,” said Royal coach Ray Valle, who along with his players is making his first trip to the SunDome. “We had a lot of good looks. We just didn’t get the shots to go.
“We’re disappointed, but I think we proved we belong here. We'll come back tomorrow and play hard.”
Royal guard Owen Ellis’ attempt to tie the game with 18.3 remaining caught the front of the rim. The ensuing scramble was kicked out of bounds, but the Knights (21-5) retained possession with 5.1 seconds on the clock.
The set play was to free Corbin Christensen coming off the pick for a 3-point shot in the corner. The Royal senior, who’s caught touchdown passes in each of the Knights’ past three state football championships, freed up at the 3-point line in the corner and let fly a shot to send the game into overtime. But instead of bringing down the House, the ball caught the back side of the rim and Royal’s three-game winning streak ended.
“I wasn’t thinking about the moment. I just came off the screen and shot,” said Christensen, who finished up with 12 points and seven rebounds. “There’s a little bit of a perspective challenge here, but I thought we adjusted fine, just like any other game.
“They hit those two threes at the right time and we just didn’t get it back.”
Royal took a 22-18 lead at the intermission. Christensen had eight of his 12 points in the first half. Isaac Ellis, who finished with a team-high 13 points, scored seven in the second half to lead the Knights’ charge. The rebounding was almost identical with both teams coming down with six offensive boards. The Knights carried a one-rebound edge on the defensive glass.
“You really had to go hard to the glass every time,” Angel Farias said. “It was about attitude. They had the one big guy (Isaiah Jeannot, 6-4) that made it tough inside, but we were right there with them.”
Where the House drew a distinct advantage was from the 3-point range where they made 11-of-28 after shooting a dismal 4-of-14 in the first half. Cockburn finished 4-of-7 from 3-point range and a game-high 21 points.
The atmosphere was everything it was billed to be and even though it was a 9 a.m. tipoff, the energy level built with every shot.
“The atmosphere in here was just crazy,” said Gage Christensen, who came off the bench to contribute two points and two assists. “It was fun. We weren’t intimidated at all by the noise level or the Dome. We’ll come back and play harder tomorrow.”
No. 4 Royal will face No. 15 King’s Way Christian in the 9 a.m. game on Friday. The winner will advance to Saturday’s game for fourth place.
NW School 8 10 15 17 – 50
Royal 10 12 12 12 – 46
NW School – Jamie Cockburn 21, Gabriel Roldan-Barrios 9, Isaiah Jeannot 3, Xavier DeVore 2, Gray Davidson 8, Isaia Lotawa 4, Owen DeVore 2. Totals 16-43 7-10 50
Royal – Angel Farias 4, Sawyer Jenks 9, Corbin Christensen 12, Isaac Ellis 13, Owen Ellis 6, Gage Christensen 2. Totals: 18-43 5-10 46