From three wins last season to undefeated state champions. Nathan Hale (Seattle), the No. 1 team in the Super 25, won the Washington state 3A title with a 68-51 victory against rival Garfield on Saturday in Tacoma.
Michael Porter Jr. finished with 27 points, 17 rebounds and several highlight reel dunks, including a crazy alley oop and throwing the ball of the glass to himself for a late dunk.
It is the first state championship for the program, which was bolstered by the transfers of Porter an brother Jontay from Missouri and the hiring of former NBA player Brandon Roy as coach.
Jontay Porter had 10 points and six rebounds in the title game and P.J. Fuller had 12 points and four assists, but it was a more assertive Michael Porter who led Hale’s second-half surge.
Garfield led 29-26 at halftime, but Hale (29-0) went on a 6-0 run early in the third quarter on three-pointers from Porter and Tre’Var Holland and would go ahead 35-31.
With Hale leading 40-38, Porter flushed an amazing one-handed dunk with 2:29 left in the third quarter in what seemed like a key moment. By the end of the quarter, Hale had gone on a 9-2 run and led 49-40.
While Garfield tried to hang in during the fourth quarter, Hale was on its way to the state title.
J’Raan Brooks finished with 15 points and Jamon Kemp had 12 for Garfield.
It was the fourth time this season that Hale beat its Metro League rival, including the league title game and a nationally televised game at Garfield, which is Roy’s alma mater. Garfield had been the state champion in 2014 and 2015 and reached the state semifinals last season.
Hale could next be headed to the DICK’S Sporting Goods Nationals. In early February, Mike Colbrese, the executive director of the WIAA, told USA TODAY High School Sports that the executive board waived a number of rules to pave the way for Hale’s inclusion if the school wanted to make the trip.
“We’ve had a boys basketball and a girls basketball team go to this event and two football teams that went to another Paragon event,” Colbrese said. “We’ve gotten very positive feedback from the coaches from those schools on those events.”