Double Ws lead Wa-Hi to fourth place

Michael Weisner and Gary Winston combine for 42 points in the Blue Devils' 48-38 victory over Decatur for the state trophy.

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Wa-Hi's Michael Weisner takes the state fourth-place trophy to an overwhelmed Ryan James, No. 32.

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Decatur's Dom Hunter, No. 2, grabs Blue Devil Jake Aguiar's face during the second quarter.

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Blue Devil Gary Winston slams the dunk to put Wa-Hi up 20-16 Saturday.

TACOMA - Wa-Hi's double Ws, Gary Winston and Michael Weisner, combined to score 42 points.

And the Blue Devil defense, sparked in the fourth quarter by junior Seth Alden, put the clamps on the Gators from Decatur, especially in the second and fourth quarters.

The all-around team effort led Wa-Hi to a 48-38 victory over the Gators and gave the Blue Devils sole ownership of the fourth-place trophy at the Tacoma Dome's Class 4A boys state basketball tournament here on Saturday.

"Gary and I knew we had to step up in this one," Weisner said. "We knew it would be a tough game, so we were just trying to get it done for our team.

"That second quarter defense was big for us," Weisner added. "We switched to a zone, and it worked out well for us. We were rebounding well and finding the open man. It turned out good for us."

Winston led all scorers with 24 points, and Weisner scored 18.

Weisner, Colton Arias and Ryan James led the Blue Devils with six rebounds each. And Weisner blocked four shots.

Jerron Smith led Decatur with 16 points. Jordan McCloud pulled off a game-high 14 rebounds.

The Gators won the battle of the boards 41-31.

Wa-Hi led 14-13 after the first quarter, and its zone defense swamped Gator shooters for a 13-7 edge in the second quarter to put the Blue Devils up 27-20 at halftime.

Decatur battled back in the third period with a 14-7 advantage to tie the score at 34-34 going into the final quarter of the year for both teams.

That final eight minutes turned into a defensive stalemate, with Wa-Hi going 0-for-6 from the floor and the Gators going 0-for-4, until Winston canned a 3-pointer with 3:44 left in the game for a 37-34 Wa-Hi lead.

Wa-Hi never trailed again, but Anthony Williams' bucket narrowed the score to 37-36 with 3:26 on the clock.

Fourteen seconds later, Alden hit a 3-pointer that sparked a seven-point Wa-Hi spurt, including a Weisner 3-pointer, for a 44-36 lead with 1:21 on the clock.

In that two-minute span, Alden grabbed two steals, pulled down a key rebound at the 3-minute mark, and deflected a shot.

"It started out slow for me this season, and I wasn't much of a part of it that first half when Gary and Mike carried us," Alden said. "Then everybody started warming up after the Coeur d'Alene tournament. It just kept rolling from there, and here we are today. I've been playing good basketball lately. It's been fun.

"This is the way to finish it," he added with a smile.

Winston closed out the scoring for the game and his Blue Devil career with two trips to the free-throw line in the final seconds. He made all four shots, and left the game to applause from Wa-Hi's fans with 13 seconds of play.

"This was the seniors' last game, and my last game. It just feels good to come out and win," Winston said. "I've wanted a state trophy since I got out of grade school. We finally accomplished that, and it feels good.

"I guess that last free throw was my last shot in high school," Winston said and smiled. "I didn't realize that until now, but it feels good that I made it."

The Blue Devils finished the season with a 25-6 record, after a 3-1 record at the state tournament.

"Not many teams get to finish the season with a win," a happy Wa-Hi coach John Golden said. "We not only wanted to play on Saturday, but we wanted to win on Saturday.

"These guys came through, and I'm really proud of them," he said. "I thought Seth Alden came in and gave us a big boost when we needed it. He got a couple of steals. He hit the big bucket. He blocked a shot. He rebounded.

"It was a real team effort," Golden continued. "We kind of had the fourth-day shooting woes, as did they. But our kids came to play, and they really wanted this win.

"I was real proud of our defense today," Golden said. "It really has been pretty good all year. We gave up that stretch on Thursday that still kind of haunts us a little bit. Yet, we really bounced back, and I'm so proud of these kids and the community can be proud of them, too."

Wa-Hi loses nine seniors from the team: Winston, Jake Aguiar, Jake Crawford, Brandon Porter, Arias, Weisner, Morgan Maddess, Ryan James and Zach Sumerlin,

Three juniors from the squad return next year: Alden, (a 5-foot-10 guard), Matt Watson (6-1 post) and Alex Ceron (5-11 guard).

"We've got some good juniors and sophomores coming up to be on the varsity," Alden said. "And there are two good freshmen that may make the varsity next year.

"But we will be missing two Division I players (Winston and Weisner), and they will be tough to replace," he added.

DECATUR (38) - McCloud 2-10 4-6 8, T. Williams 2-8 2-4 7, Hunter 0-1 0-0 0, B. Williams 0-1 0-0 0, Oliver 0-1 0-0 0, Wilson 0-0 0-0 0, Smith 6-15 0-2 16, Ferrello-Logan 0-0 0-0 0, Rawls 0-0 0-0 0, Crouts 0-0 0-0 0, Kelly 0-0 0-0 0, A. Williams 1-4 0-0 0. Totals 13-48 16-12 38.

WA-HI (48) - Winston 6-19 9-10 24, Aguiar 0-0 0-0 0, Porter 0-4 0-0 0, Arias 1-6 1-2 3, Weisner 8-16 0-1 18, James 0-3 0-0 0, Alden 1-1 0-0 3, Ceron 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 16-4910-13 48.

Decatur 13 7 14 4 - 38

Wa-Hi 14 13 7 14 - 48

3-point goals - Decatur 6-18 (T. Williams 1-1, Hunter 1-5, B. Williams 0-1, Smith 4-11), Wa-Hi 6-24 (Winston 3-13, Weisner 2-7, James 0-1, Alden 1-1). Total fouls - Decatur 16, Wa-Hi 13. Fouled out - None. Technical fouls - None. Rebounds - Decatur 42 (McCloud 14, Williams 12), Wa-Hi 31 (Arias 6, Weisner 6, James 6). Turnovers - Decatur 14 , Wa-Hi 5. Assists - Decatur 8 (Oliver 3), Wa-Hi 9 (Arias 5). Steals - Decatur 0, Wa-Hi 5 (Winston 2, Alden 2).

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