High School Sports
Class 3A boys roundup: Brown's 36 lifts Renton to third
Special to The Seattle Times
TACOMA — Nothing was going to stop Steffond Brown in his pursuit to succeed. He wouldn't go quietly in his final game with the Renton Indians.
Not even injury would stop him.
The 6-foot-1 senior guard went out in a blaze of glory, despite dislocating the pinkie finger on his non-shooting near the end of the first half, racking up a career-high 36 points as Renton rallied for a 68-60 victory over Clarkston for fourth place yesterday at the Class 3A state boys basketball tournament.
Brown, who scored 23 in the second half with a cumbersome support brace on his left hand, helped the Indians (25-3) to their best state finish since they won the 1967 championship. Renton reached the state tournament for the first time since 1977 last season and it took seventh.
"Since this was the last go-round, I wanted to put on a good showing," said Brown, who will play at Central Washington University next season. "The (nine) seniors, we had to go out with a win. A specialist came in at halftime and popped (the finger) back in and fitted me with the brace. It felt kind of weird.
"I wasn't coming out. I wanted to win."
The Indians' leading scorer finished the game 12 of 21 from the field, including 7 of 14 from three-point range to equal the tournament record of 16 three-pointers established by West Valley of Spokane's Jake Schillinger in 1992.
Brown sank 4 of 7 threes in the second half after a specialist popped his finger back into place and fitted him with the brace. Brown scored 90 points in four tourney games for 22.5 per game average.
Josh Heytvelt, the 6-10 Gonzaga-bound center, finished his high-school career at Clarkston (22-5) in fine fashion with 21 points, 17 rebounds and two blocked shots.
West Valley 59, Meadowdale 57 (3rd-6th)
E.J. Schoen, brother of former Washington track star Ja'Warren Hooker, sank a six-foot baseline leaner with 3.6 seconds left to lift the Rams (25-3) to a come-from-behind triumph. It was the Yakima's school's best finish at the state tournament since taking second in 1996.
"That's his best shot," West Valley coach Jim Berndt said. "He's just a great athlete. When he plants two feet and floats, that's his best shot. He's hit a ton of those runners."
Schoen finished with 17 points as did the Rams' leading scorer, Andrew Strait, who added eight rebounds.
Meadowdale (23-5) of Lynnwood took sixth — tying the best finish in school history — for the second consecutive season after back-to-back painful semifinals losses to Rainier Beach.
The Mavericks got a superb game from Colin Matteson, one of seven seniors. The 6-foot-7 Matteson provided 21 points on 7-of-8 field-goal shooting and 7-of-9 free-throw shooting to go with six rebounds, four assists and two blocked shots.
Taylor Marsh added 15 points for Meadowdale, which led 57-55 before Corey Wehr sank two free throws to tie the game with 30.6 seconds left. Marsh had put the Mavericks ahead 57-53 with a three-pointer with 52 seconds to go.
The Mavericks were hurt defensively without injured senior Larod Lover, who tried to play despite a sprained left ankle and a sore right Achilles.
Bellingham 51, Col. River 49 (5th-8th)
Brandon Foote scored on an open layin with 4.0 seconds left off a no-look feed from Tim Sellereit as Bellingham (24-4) placed for the second consecutive season, rallying from a 10-point, second-half deficit.
"Most of the time I'd been taking shots at the end of the quarter, so they came out on me," Sellereit said. "I saw Brandon slide in there and I was just able to find him."
Columbia River (18-10) had a chance to tie on a full-court inbounds play after a timeout with 2.8 seconds to play, but couldn't get a shot off after advancing inside the key.
Bellingham, which was led by Foote's 20 points, five assists, four steals and four rebounds, placed at state for the 14th time in 30 trips.
Chris Bolton led Columbia River with 17 points on 6-of-11 shooting, including 5 of 10 on three-pointers.
Sellereit finished his Bellingham career with 15 points on 5-of-18 shooting.
Correspondent Terry Wood contributed to this report.
Copyright © 2004 The Seattle Times Company