After last friday’s away victory against the Orting High School Cardinals, the Tornados looked to establish some much-needed momentum against the Bethel Braves. That victory unfortunately didn’t transfer during their Dec. 3 meet against the Bethel Braves.
The Tornados showed merciless in the first two periods, gaining a sizeable lead on the Braves by halftime. But after the Braves secured a third quarter tie, the Tornados would succumb to the Braves’ late game confidence, 74-62.
This wasn’t the first time they’ve lost a late game lead. Going into their fourth period against Auburn, the boys had a five point advantage. The final time would reveal 80-65 at that Nov. 28 meet.
“We get where we wanna play, we get three quarters in… then we can’t close it out,” head coach Sterling Carter said.
Carter said the boys don’t know how to finish when they’re up, even though he believes they’re completely capable.
But the boys are making improvements - when they’re on, they’re on. Junior James Wildish proved crucial to the Tornados in the first period, nailing back-to-back 3-pointers and opening space for offensive breaks.
The boys also won’t go another winless season, as they’re 1-3-0 overall. Still, Carter’s looking to bring home wins. And that requires a sustaining a lead.
“It’s not about being passive and holding the ball. You gotta do what got you there in the first place,” Carter said.
Early in the first quarter, the Tornados suffered a loss due to two separate technical fouls against their bench, posting six points in the Braves’ favor. The Braves were up early, but only temporarily.
A defensive break and fakey by senior Gabe Cruz to tie it up 13-13. Wildish would find another 2-point break and bring the Tornados up 15-13.
Bethel’s offense would go on to buffer against the Tornados stark defense. This lead Bethel to make desperate plays and mistakes, which cost them as the score read 19-17 at the end of the first.
The Tornados would work out a very offensive second quarter, with junior Austin Schaler and Cruz finding ways to fake-out and swing past the Brave’s defense.
With a 27-22 lead, freshman Rj Hominda would find freshman Tristan Pyette at the end for an impressive cornered 3-pointer, then again for a 2-pointer. Pyette would find resolution through a 2-pointer, leading the Braves 39-31 at the half.
A combination of clean free throws and holes in Yelm’s defense lead Bethel with the opportunity to secure a tie by the end of the third quarter, 51-51. That confidence by Bethel deemed lethal for the hometeam.
The fourth was hard-fought for both sides. Pyette would bring back a muffed 2-point rebound. Bethel would equalize moments later, then take the lead with a second 2-pointer ending in a personal foul with no resolve by Bethel.
A personal-foul free throw would see the Braves rise up an 8 point advantage on the Tornados, 65-57. A late game net by the Braves would bring it up by an additional three points.
At 1:20 left in the last quarter, Bethel called a timeout. The boys were down a 10-point deficit, 70-60. And after conceding a 2-pointer and personal foul, the boys would walk away with a loss.