TACOMA – Want to get the Newport Knights to play their best basketball? Easy. Put their backs against the wall.
Newport won its sixth straight loser-out game on Friday by beating No. 3 Bothell 65-58 in a Class 4A consolation game. The Knights will play the winner of No. 4 Central Valley and No. 5 Richland in the fourth-place game at 8 a.m. on Saturday.
“Maybe we just need to be in these loser-out games to be successful,” Newport coach Steve Haizlip said. “They like the pressure, and it doesn’t seem to faze them. That just shows the character of this group.”
Newport (19-9) and Bothell (21-5) played for the third time this season, and the Cougars won the first two meetings. Newport led by six at halftime, but Zach LaVine and Bothell cut that lead to three multiple times in the fourth quarter.
Newport never let the Cougars get any closer than that, though. Miles Fowler hit the shot of the game with 40 seconds left and his team leading by just three. As the shot clock wound down, Fowler hit a guarded, off-balance jumper along the baseline. He finished with 12 points.
“We got back to team ball,” Haizlip said. “We brought back the trust. We played defense. We shared the ball. And Will was on fire.”
That would be Will Ferris, Newport’s leading scorer at 15 points per game. Ferris finished with 24 points and hit 5 of his 9 three-pointers.
The loss ended Bothell’s season. The Cougars, who were ranked No. 1 for most of the season, lost five games – four of which came against teams ranked No. 1 or No. 2 in the state.
LaVine, who will play at UCLA next year, finished with 27 points but missed all 10 of his three-pointers. Perrion Callandret added 15 points while Josh Martin had 10 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks.
As a team, Bothell made just 1 of 14 three-pointers while Newport made 6 of 14 three-point attempts.