Moments earlier his Inglemoor Vikings, which had knocked off Woodinville twice by 30 points in the regular season, barely survived in overtime against an inspired Falcon team, escaping with a 59-57 victory in a loser-out KingCo tournament game at Juanita High School on Friday.
Inglemoor (10-12) will now play Issaquah (16-6) in another do-or-die affair on Tuesday, as the Falcons put away the ball bag for the season.
“Woodinville played a great game,” Lowell said, still sweaty under the arms in his black and yellow polo.
“They defended hard and shot it very well, with nothing to lose. Our kids somehow managed to gut it out.”
Viking junior Trey Miller led all scorers with 21 points, including four free throws in the extra session when nary a field goal was made by either team.
It wasn’t pretty. But it was exciting.
Down by six entering the fourth quarter, Woodinville dug in its heels defensively and back-to-back three-pointers by Tommy Wick tied it up at 53 with 3:30 remaining and all the cards on the table.
The next three minutes were helter-skelter as the teams exchanged steals, travels and blocked shots but no buckets, and the score remained the same until Viking junior Colin Portugal knocked down a baseline jumper with 28 seconds left and the shot clock winding down.
After calling timeout to regroup, Woodinville responded, as senior John Villasenor took it to the rack with no other option but to tie it again with two seconds left.
The OT was a hockey game with bodies scattered on the floor for loose balls and became a free throw contest.
And nobody’s free throw was more important than Viking 6-foot,8-inch William Luckett’s.
Down by one with 23 ticks remaining, the Falcons were searching for a hero. After passing it around the perimeter, the ball found its way back to Villasenor who hoisted a jumper that clanked the iron and was rebounded by Chris Bryant underneath — the smallest kid on the floor.
He passed it to Luckett who was immediately fouled.
The big sophomore went to the line for two shots and made his first one.
So there it was: Falcon ball with six seconds left, down 59-57.
The entry pass was deep and solid, and on a wing and a prayer Wick’s last second jumper from the top of the key was just off-kilter, bouncing wide right, to punctuate Woodinville’s 4-18 season.
Said first-year coach Mark Folsom, when asked what he told his team afterwards: “Just how proud we are of them, you know, given the circumstances of a new coaching staff and all the changes that have come about.
“Day in and day out they came to practice every day and competed hard … They gave it everything they’ve got and busted their butts … and today was definitely a display of that. We were just a bucket short.”
Said Villasenor, a Falcon football player used to winning more than losing, and was a warrior throughout a trying season: “You never get used to losing, but our team did the best it could do and I think it showed tonight … I know we don’t have the most talented team in KingCo but we busted our butts … We played to our potential … and that’s a tribute to our coaches.”
Did he believe until the bitter end?
“I did. Our coach started this new philosophy — trust and believe, and we did. We lost tonight and our season is over but I’m really happy with the game we played. And I know in the end Tommy didn’t make that shot but if you give Tommy that shot 10 times, he’s gonna make it a lot.”
Villasenor led Woodinville with 15 points. Wick added 14.