The South End's Quakers hit a wall of Saxons from Eastern Washington during an anxiously anticipated 4A state tournament semifinal game at the Tacoma Dome on March 2. The Franklin squad entered the tournament riding a wave of high expectations generated by their 14-0 streak that earned them a top ranking in the King County 4A Lake Division Conference coupled with their 2006 championship season.
But the Quakers had their hardwood work unexpectedly cut out for them when they hit the court on Friday against an equally undefeated team from east of the Cascades, Spokane's Ferris High School squad. The two teams met in last year's 4A championship at the semifinal level, but it was the Quakers that dominated that year on their way to garnering the state title.
The roles were drastically reversed when the two teams met again. Ferris came out playing hard against Franklin coach Jason Kerr's squad, led on court by the commanding, physical game of senior Venoy Overton. Shooting 59 percent from the field with 35 fouls drawn and hitting 37-for-43 from the free-throw line, the Saxons simply outplayed the Quakers.
Ferris led Franklin at the end of the first quarter 20 to 16, the second quarter 21 to 20, the third quarter 24 to 17 and the fourth quarter 35 to 26. The point spread of 100 to 79 resembled numbers more commonly associated with top-tier collegiate play. In fact, Ferris' 100-point effort was the highest-scoring game in 4A tournament history.
Ferris went on to defeat Kentridge in Saturday's championship match in a 68-61 double-overtime game.
Despite the upset, Kerr's squad remained focused for the third-place match against Pasco on Saturday, handily winning 65-55. Overton, who garnered a scholarship with the University of Washington squad next year, continued his floor leadership and managed to score 25 of his team's points with five assists and seven steals.
The game's relaxed atmosphere translated into some loose play with each team committing 26 turnovers. Coach Kerr and Pasco coach Chad Herron each used the opportunity to play deep into their bench, with the Bulldogs starting five seniors, three who are normally tapped as reserves.
Erik Hansen may be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org.