Surviving early shooting woes and a 26-point night from North Thurston High School standout Tim Tenkley, Timberline pulled away late in the first half for a 70-51 win Wednesday night on the road Wednesday night.
The victory capped a perfect 7-0 first round through Class 3A South Sound Conference play for the Blazers (10-3), who maintain a two-game lead over second-place Capital.
“So far, so good,” Blazers coach Allen Thomas said afterward. “But, anyone can beat anyone in our league.”
“It’s pretty satisfying,” said senior forward Izaiah Jerenz, who finished with nine points. “No one behind us ever did that before.”
Timberline hasn’t been beaten, but one of its wins came by one point, and another in overtime. Capital, alone in second with a 5-2 league record, was topped by a single point in each of its losses.
And, crosstown rival North Thurston, despite graduating heavy last season, made Timberline sweat early on.
“Their game plan was to force us to take jump shots and we fell right into the trap,” Thomas said. “We changed up, at least driving and attacking first, then kicking out looking to shoot. We found our rhythm a little bit in the second quarter.”
Timberline had just two field goals in the first five minutes — one on a drive and one on a follow shot. Meanwhile, Tenkley got off to a fast start, scoring five of his points as North Thurston grabbed what would turn out to be its biggest lead, 9-6, halfway through the first quarter.
“Tenkley was pretty special tonight,” Thomas said. “He was hitting from the outside. He made a living at the free throw line.”
Senior guard Cole Hicks got the Blazers’ outside game going with a jumper from the left elbow — the same place his game-winning shot Friday in overtime against Peninsula came from — and freshman Jeshua Hardie hit the first of his two 3-pointers on the night.
The lead changed hands 11 times in the first half.
But, with their outside game going and Trevor Joubert slipping open inside for easy baskets, Timberline put together a 14-0 run across a two-minute span of the second quarter.
The outburst began with a drive to the bucket by Hunter Campau, who led the Blazers with 14 points, and ended on an alley-oop slam by junior Alex Wright off a lob pass from Campau.
The dunk put Timberline up, 31-19, and though North Thurston got as close as eight points down at halftime, the Blazers’ lead wasn’t seriously threatened after the run.
Their biggest edge was a 68-45 lead in the final two minutes after a fast break layup by Nic LeDoux.
Pressure defense helped Timberline.
“With the number of players we use in our rotation, we try to wear people down,” Thomas said. “We got what we wanted in the second half.”
T – Shooting: 24 of 52 (46.2 percent). Free throws: 16 of 22 (72.7). Turnovers: 11.
N – Shooting: 17 of 53 (32.1 percent). Free throws: 10 of 19 (52.6). Turnovers: 12.
T – Kayden Lacy 7, Hunter Campau 14, Izaiah Jerenz 9, Cole Hicks 9, Ross Jones 5, Nic LeDoux 2, Trevor Joubert 11, Jeshua Hardie 7, Alex Wright 6.
N – Ravi Ath 8, Andrew Shamrock 3, Tariq Osman 2, Will Dixon 7, Tim Tenkley 26, Shea Thomas 5.