FILE PHOTO — The Yelm varsity boys basketball team rallies before their home game against the Bremerton Knights in early December. 

The Yelm Tornados hosted their final home game of the season on Friday, Jan. 31, and it was one for the books

Yelm hosted the Timberline Blazers (4-8 SSC, 4-14 overall) and won an intense overtime game, 92-86, adding a boost to the team’s confidence as they go into their final away games of the season against two of the league’s best teams.

With their fourth league win under their belt, the Tornados now stand 4-8 in the South Sound Conference and 8-10 overall. It’s unlikely the Tornados will receive a postseason berth to the West Central District No. 3 Tournament, which starts next week.

Yelm had a rough start to the season, sustaining a four-game losing streak transferring into SSC play. Yelm kept it close in all the games, falling against Shelton and North Thurston by just single scores.

The team’s first league win came during a major upset against No. 1 ranked Gig Harbor Tides late this season. Yelm went on to find redemption against Shelton, 74-67, and bested Peninsula, 60-48, before hosting Timberline.

McGannon and Wildish led Yelm in scoring against the Blazers. McGannon, a 6-foot-4 senior center, had 27 points. Senior small forward Wildish had 21 points.

Guard Tristan Pyette was consistent from the free throw line. The sophomore went 8-for-12 on those opportunities and contributed a total of 14 points.

This season was the program’s best turnout in more than five years, and the most successful since Head Coach Sterling Carter took over the program two and a half years ago.

Nine of the varsity team’s 13 players are due to graduate this spring, which will more than likely leave a big gap for the program to fill next year. McGannon and Wildish aside, the team will also lose the likes of point guard Austin Schaler, shooting guard Bob Peterson, power forward Bodeen Sleeman, small forward Benjamin Hoffmann, power forward Luke Martin and centers George Packard and Jacob Barnert.

Carter and his program have been gaining the attention of coaches around the league and other students within the school district, he said.

“I think we’re one of the best teams this school has had in a long time. Skill, leadership, passion for the game, toughness,” Carter previously told the Nisqually Valley News.

Packard and Martin, in a previous interview, also noted the change in culture Carter has been bringing to the program.

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