The Bellevue boys basketball season came to an end with a 54-45 loss to the Seattle Prep Panthers in a loser-out 3A Sea-King district playoff game on Feb. 22 at Bellevue College.
The Wolverines had already won three loser-out playoff games this season to get one game away from the regional playoffs. Bellevue opened the district tournament with a 53-47 win over Bishop Blanchet in a loser-out game on Feb. 15. After falling to O’Dea, 62-54, the Wolverines beat West Seattle 54-34 in a loser-out game to set up their showdown with Seattle Prep. Bellevue head coach Sam Fein said he is proud of the way his team fought.
“We’ve definitely gone through the ringer,” Fein said. “I’m really proud of how we came together at the end of the year. It was a struggle at times this season, we dropped a couple of games we think we could have had, but I’m really proud of them.”
Fein said they had different players step up during the postseason run, including some younger players.
“We had some young guys, freshmen and sophomores, that got some valuable experience and really contributed and really grew,” Fein said.
Those young players were able gain valuable playoff experience that bodes well for the future. Fein said the biggest lesson to learn is that every possession counts during playoff basketball.
“Our guys got to learn, both on the winning and the losing side, that it only takes one play to turn a game,” Fein said.
After a slow start offensively for both teams in the game against Seattle Prep, the Panthers were able to close out the first quarter on a 7-0 run to take a 14-6 lead heading into the second quarter.
The Wolverines answered back with a run of their own in the second quarter, tying the game at 16-16 after Bellevue’s Hudson Hansen hit a pair of free throws. The Panthers held a narrow 21-20 lead into halftime.
After the Panthers built an early 31-26 lead, the Wolverines clawed their way back into the game and cut the Seattle Prep lead to 31-30 with 2:45 left in the third quarter. The Panthers took a 38-32 lead into the fourth quarter after going on a 7-2 run to close the quarter.
The Panthers held onto their lead for the rest of the game to clinch their spot in the regional playoffs with a 54-45 win.
The Wolverines were playing catch-up for most of the night. Bellevue was able to close the gap multiple times, but the Panthers would always answer back with a run or a big shot.
“We got a little excited when the game got closer and I think we lost our focus a little bit,” Fein said. “But I’m really proud of them, that’s a good team we lost to.”
Senior Hans Stone led the scoring for the Wolverines with 11 points, including a pair of 3-pointers in the loss to the Panthers.