After driving 329 miles to cover four different sporting events in two days, your faithful sports reporter found the perfect story.
Turns out, it was only 44 miles away from home at Mark Morris High School where the Washougal boys basketball team rallied from a 13-point deficit in the fourth quarter to stun W.F. West 58-57 Saturday in the consolation semifinals of the district tournament.
A four-point swing at the start of the fourth quarter gave the Bearcats a 51-38 advantage. Washougal appeared left for dead after W.F. West made a foul shot, missed the second one, rebounded the ball, put it back in for two points, drew another foul shot and converted.
Instead, it lit a firecracker in the hearts of the Panthers.
A furious Michael McElory nailed a huge 3-pointer on the next possession to turn the tide. The Bearcats made two more foul shots, but couldn't stop Mustapha Bah from scoring two points for Washougal on the other side. The Panthers got a stop, took the ball to the hoop and missed, but Isaac Bischoff rose up for the rebound and put back. He also drew a foul shot and made it for a 3-point play.
Washougal was back within five points with less than four minutes in the game. The Panthers got the ball back and scrambled for an open look under the basket. Aaron Deister took the shot. The ball bounced left and right before settling through the net. Down by three with 3:30 left.
W.F. West went back up by four points at the foul line. Once again, Bah took the ball down the court like a freight train and laid it in for two more points. Down by two with two minutes left.
The Bearcats converted one of two at the foul line. David Crowley was open down court, caught a long pass and kicked it to Bischoff on an open lane to the basket for two. The Panthers were only down by one point. Before the crowd could settle down, they were coming back up court with the ball again. Their first shot was off, but Bischoff was right there again to get the rebound and basket to give Washougal a 56-55 lead with 23 seconds left.
The Panthers needed one more stop. Deister got it when he intercepted a pass. He kicked it back to McElroy, and the Bearcats fouled him with 9.1 seconds left. McElroy stepped up to the line and made both free throws to push the lead to three. W.F. West scored a quick two, but could not get the ball back before time expired.
Washougal is still alive and well. On Tuesday night, the Panthers get a rematch with North Thurston at W.F. West High School in Chehalis. The winning team advances to the regional tournament.
Read the reactions of the Washougal players in Tuesday's print edition of the Post-Record.
Did state weekend match up?
All you have read before this was from a game I didn't even plan on attending until this afternoon. The purpose for this 329-mile expedition was to see how the Camas and Washougal athletes performed at the state gymnastics, swimming and wrestling meets in Tacoma and Federal Way.
Here are the highlights:
Audrey Siebenthaler finished 31st in the all-around competition for the Camas gymnastics team with 32.325 points. She earned a 9.15 on the floor, a 8.475 on the beam, a 8.125 on the vault and a 6.575 on the bars.
The Camas 200-meter medley relay swimming team finished eighth place in 1:40.68. The 200 free relay team grabbed seventh in 1:30.71. Jake Yraceburu earned fifth place in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:01.32.
After losing a heartbreaker in the semifinals, Camas senior wrestler Tyler Weiss bounced back with a third-place finish at 132 pounds. He rallied to win his last match in overtime by the score of 7-5. Camas sophomore Marcus Hartman snagged a seventh-place medal at 113 pounds.
Washougal sent three wrestlers to the Tacoma Dome, and all three went home with medals. Brother and sister Stephen and Haven Camden both captured sixth place in their respective brackets. Erin Locke grabbed eighth place. It was the first trip to the state tournament for all three Panthers.
Since Camas and Washougal did not have any finalists in wrestling, it opened up an opportunity for me to attend that Washougal basketball game on the way home. Boy did that work out well.
One story still left untold
Well, there was one event I missed out on this weekend. The Camas girls basketball team beat Bremerton 53-45 Saturday, at Clover Park High School in Lakewood, to qualify for the state tournament. I look forward to catching up with the coach and players on that historical victory. This is the first time the Camas girls are going to state since 1978.
In a nutshell, that is how a playoff weekend goes for one sports reporter covering teams from two towns. I love every minute of it, and it's worth every mile to find that perfect story.
Read more in the Post-Record Tuesday.
See you on the sidelines.