Eastside Catholic hung on after a late Seattle Prep comeback to win 60-50.
The No. 2 Crusaders (14-3; 10-2) are now tied with No. 5 Seattle Prep (14-3; 10-2) for first in the Metro League’s Mountain Division.
Heading into the last three games of the season, Seattle Prep has a tough climb facing Cleveland, West Seattle, and finally No. 4 Rainier Beach. Eastside Catholic takes on Franklin, Nathan Hale, and Chief Sealth.
Eastside Catholic forward Matisse Thybulle, who averages over 19 points per game, got in foul trouble early and didn’t play for the second quarter, or most of the third, spelling out problems for the Crusaders.
But, guard Mandrell Worthy said other guys stepped up, especially forwards Andrew Padilla, Etan Collins, and Iain McLaughlin:
Worthy and Thybulle both finished with 15 points. Worthy, a Montana State commit, also recorded three assists and three rebounds, and Thybulle, a Washington commit, had six rebounds and two assists.
Padilla added nine points, and guard Morgan Clark chipped in eight points.
“[Padilla’s] rebounds and his toughness in the post—they’re giants,” said Eastside Catholic coach Bill Liley. “The way he battled in there really helped us win this game.”
Eastside Catholic took the lead early with an 11-2 run in the first quarter, and Seattle Prep never caught up. The Panthers were able to close Eastside Catholic’s lead to just 43-42 in the fourth quarter, but Eastside Catholic’s intensity got the best of Seattle Prep. A 10-0 run in the beginning of the fourth quarter pushed the Crusaders out of reach.
Seattle Prep had the height advantage – three of its starters stand at 6-foot-8 – but Eastside Catholic’s forwards compensated, grabbing more than half of the rebounds. Seattle Prep is a younger team, and Kelly said this was one of those games where Eastside Catholic’s experience was a big factor.
“Eastside Catholic showed their form, their experience at critical moments tonight,” said Seattle Prep coach Michael Kelly. “The way they opened and closed the game had a lot to do with their experience and their poise, and we’re just not there yet.”
Seattle Prep guard Aaron Nettles paced the Panthers with 21 points, and was 10-for-12 from the free throw line.