OLYMPIA, Wash. – What occurred within the Kingdom about 25 years in the past is data just for Mason Juergens. He wasn’t round.
However his uncle Chris performed within the 1998 WIAA boys basketball last for the Bears, who gained 44-40 in opposition to Rainier Seaside to seize the Class 3A crown.
It was a poignant second not only for the group, however for Jurgens’ household as nicely — so the junior hoped the rematch 25 years later — a 65-49 Bears victory — would offer some solace.
“I hope so slightly bit,” Juergens stated. “However I do know they’ll do no matter it takes to come back again and play that sport once more.”
WSU-bound Parker Gerrits led all scorers with 28 factors as Olympia took a 46-33 lead after a 13-2 run within the third quarter.
Miles Gurske led Rainier Seaside with 17 factors — 11 within the first half.
However the evening in entrance of the understanding crowd was larger than only a sport. It was a 25-year assembly between the 2 packages — and a renewal of one of many extra distinctive teaching friendships within the state.
A 12 months in the past, each groups made deep runs on the WIAA championships within the Tacoma Dome — the Bears captured the Class 4A third-place trophy and Rainier Seaside superior to the Class 3A title sport, shedding to Auburn.
Olympia coach John Kiley and Rainier Seaside’s Mike Bethea have run into one another a number of instances. The 2 started speaking concerning the practically 25 years since their basic assembly within the 3A title sport.
“These are the friendships you construct and cherish,” Bethea stated. “We have been each younger coaches feeling our approach, and we have maintained that mutual respect for one another.”
On the ultimate day, Kiley urged that the 2 groups have a reunion of types – bringing again a few of the 1998 squad after which having a non-league sport between the present groups.
Two months later, the 2 coaches finalized the sport – and Bethea needed to take his staff to Olympia.
“Large evening,” Kiley stated.
Within the days main as much as Saturday’s sport, Bethea anticipated to be a part of a 25-year reunion in Seattle that week for 2 of his largest stars — NBA-bound guard Jamal Crawford and now-assistant David King. However each have been known as as much as out-of-state AAU tournaments.
For Kiley, 10 of his 12 varsity gamers have been in attendance Saturday, together with all-state guard Mark Bigelow, who performed abroad at BYU and professionally. All of them have been launched earlier than the flight.
“We went toe-to-toe with them,” Bigelow stated of the 1998 matchup in opposition to Rainier Seaside. “We had quite a lot of missed alternatives. However on the similar time, you look again on it with fond, fond recollections.”
It was the springboard for a corridor of fame teaching profession because it was the week Bethea captured the primary of eight WIAA championships.
And to at the present time, he nonetheless names essentially the most loaded discipline for the state event he is seen, with Mount Vernon, Mercer Island, Rainier Seaside, Olympia and O’Dea nonetheless within the combine.
In entrance of practically 20,000 followers for the state semifinals. Olympia defeated Mercer Island (52-50) and the Vikings defeated Mount Vernon (57-56).
Each groups had huge leads, however it was the Vikings who held a 35-18 lead late within the third quarter.
However Matt DeBord’s 3-pointer late within the third quarter sparked the Bears’ rally. They adopted with a 14-0 run to take a 38-37 lead with 2:21 left.
On the different finish, Crawford transformed a troublesome 14-foot jumper for Rainier Seaside, then had a blocked shot on Bigelow seconds later. The Vikings by no means backed down once more.
So watching his Bears get slightly revenge on Saturday evening — did it take any of the toll from that huge stage loss all these years in the past?
“No, no,” Kiley stated sternly. “However it’s good.”