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Bellevue boys set for quarterfinal date with one-loss Stanwood | Prep basketball news
Bellevue (21-6) VS. Stanwood (23-1)
When: Thursday, March 6, 12:15 p.m., Tacoma Dome
What's at stake: A spot in the 3A state semi finals against either Shadle Park or Rainier Beach
Last game: Bellevue went to Tacoma and took care of Lincoln, winning 60-55. Stanwood won its 3A Regional round game over 73-55 over Foss to punch a quarterfinal ticket.
Players to watch for
Stanwood - Drew Stang, JR., Post
Point guard Josh Thayer gets more headlines due to his ability to heat up in a hurry from the floor, but it is the post presence Stang who could swing things against Bellevue.
"He is pretty tough around the basket," Bellevue coach Chris O'Connor said. "We can use a lot of guys to defend him and possibly wear him out and get him into foul trouble."
The Wolverines will rush a number of bodies at Stang in an effort to keep him quiet on the offensive end, with All-KingCo honorees Gunther Klimes, Jack Walton and Mikey Henn getting a hand from Dylan Foreman.
Bellevue - Kyle Foreman, JR., Guard
The conference Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year in 2A/3A KingCo will have to deal with Thayer on the defensive end, while also keeping the flow of Bellevue's transition offense and make sure they execute sets in the half court.
O'Connor said Foreman and sophomore guard Sharif Khan are tone setters for his squad.
"I would take our backcourt over any backcourt in the state," he said. "Their play has been instrumental to our success."
Defense defining Wolverines
Led by the conference's Defensive Player of the year in Foreman, Bellevue has stifled opponents all year en route to an unbeaten KingCo season and 3A state berth.
O'Connor said continuing the effort on that end of the floor will be the key to his team advancing in the 3A state tournament.
"We always tell our guys they have to keep getting better defensively," he said. "Because that is what is going to win it for us in the end."
The Wolverines have surrendered 55 or more points only twice since the New Year, in an 80-71 win over Wilson and the 55-47 district semi final loss to Eastside Catholic.
Guard play a key
With one of the tournament's top scoring threats in Thayer on the opposite end, O'Connor said the play of his own guards could hold the key to a Bellevue win.
Foreman and Sharif Khan are not physical specimens, nor top-flight Division I prospects. But their heady play, scrappy pressure and court awareness have their team three wins from a state title.
"They are good basketball players, very smart basketball players and they are tough kids," O'Connor said of Foreman and Khan. "It is so important our guards take charge and make sure we get into the right things offensively."