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Lakewood Cougar boys hoops to play for state berth
MOUNT VERNON — Cameron Fry was thinking the same thing each of the six times he stepped to the foul line inside the final minute of play — Yakima. (Order photo reprints.)
"That's all I was thinking: Get to Yakima," said Fry, who made six consecutive free throw attempts in the final minute to seal Lakewood's first district win in at least seven years. "We have fought so long to get here, we weren't going to go down without a fight."
Which is exactly what Lakewood got before pulling out a 69-63 victory in a loser-out game over Cedarcrest March 2.
"It was sloppy at times, but we ground it out," said Lakewood coach Matt Hart.
The Cougars are just one win away from the school's first state-tournament appearance at Yakima's SunDome. Hart's boys play Mount Baker at 8 p.m. on March 4 at Mount Vernon in a winner-to-state game.
In what has become Lakewood's style, the Cougars started slow out of the gate, trailing the Red Wolves by as many as seven points in the first quarter.
Riding junior Tre' Haslom's five consecutive points, Lakewood evened the score at 21-21 about halfway through the second quarter.
"Tre's getting a lot better at defense and he's such a gifted athlete with the ability to play around the rim that he can really help us out on the boards, and that's where he was best tonight," Hart said of the 6-4 junior who scored 17 points.
Lakewood exchanged a handful of leads with Cedarcrest in the following eight minutes, but took lead for good on Fry's third-quarter trey, making the score 28-25.
"He's our rock," Hart said. "Cameron has been our leader all season and he's really stepping up and maturing out there."
Fry scored a game-high 21 points to go along with his five assists, five rebounds and three steals.
Lakewood split the two-game, regular season series with Cedarcrest and was able to duplicate a winning gameplan.
"We were able to find our inside game tonight," Fry said. "And that kind of opened up the rest for us."
Lakewood's inside game, which combined with Cedarcrest's lack of outside shooting (6-for-22 from beyond the arc) resulted in the Cougars holding onto, and expanding its lead to as many as 11 in the fourth quarter.