HS boys bball: Century smothers Columbia to reach 4A state semifinals
BOISE — Deshun Harwell dribbled out the clock as Century’s nine-person student section waved goodbye to Columbia and its supporters.
The Century guard weaved in and out of Columbia’s defenders before settling near halfcourt. The clock reached triple zeros, sealing a first-round win for Harwell and Century. The Diamondbacks relied on their defense to stifle the Wildcats, winning 51-36 on Thursday at Borah High in the first round of the 4A state tournament.
Century smoothed the Wildcats, who were playing in their first state tournament game in the program’s 13-year history. The Wildcats shot 13 of 45 from the field (28.9 percent) and tallied a season-low point total.
“Defense is what we do,” Century coach Ryan Frost said. “We are good when we do a good job on defense. We did a great job defending.”
After leading by as many as 16 points in the third quarter, Century watched Columbia chip away and cut its deficit to 30-25 with 3 minutes, 11 seconds left in the third frame. Century responded with a bucket one minute later, and the Wildcats never got closer than seven points the rest of the way.
Century led by 10 points or more from the 6:12 mark of the fourth quarter until the game’s end. Columbia shot 2 of 10 over the final eight minutes of the game and did not knock down its first fourth-quarter field goal until there was 2:29 left in the game.
“We preach defense,” Harwell said. “It’s all about defense. We stay locked in and get the job done.”
Columbia struggled offensively as star guard Jake Poulton was hounded by Century’s defenders. Poulton — who came in averaging 19.3 points per game on 48 percent shooting and 44 percent on 3-pointers — scored four points, shot 2 of 11 from the field, and turned the ball over five times.
Poulton scored his first bucket with 2:40 left in the second quarter and did not score again until there was 2:29 remaining the game. Poulton was 0 of 5 on 3-pointers.
Poulton’s primary defender Thursday was Century’s Hudson Williams. When guarded by the D-backs’ senior guard, Poulton was 1 of 7 from the field with three turnovers and two points.
Williams pressured the Wildcats’ main offensive weapon, setting the tone defensively for the D-backs.
“I just didn’t want him to get the ball,” Williams said. “He is a very good player. With our defense, we can stop whoever we play.”
With Poulton floundering offensively, the Wildcats struggled to score. Columbia, which trailed 24-10 at halftime, turned the ball over 12 times and averaged .73 points per shot. Coming in, the Wildcats scored 50 points or more in 11 consecutive games.
“They are not used to our type of defense,” Williams said. “We play as a team. We have that confidence. We can go all out.”
Century fell behind 7-2, 3:42 into the game before using a 12-0 run to take a 14-7 advantage after eight minutes of play. Century increased its lead to 24-10 at halftime, outscoring the Wildcats 10-3 in the second frame.
Harwell scored four points in the second on his way to a game-high 22 points. The senior was 8 of 15 from the field, including 2 of 4 on triples.
Harwell scored at least four points in every frame and closed the game with an eight-point fourth. The senior helped carry the offense as leading scorer Max Rogers finished with four points on 2-of-11 shooting. The senior post battled foul trouble in the first half.
“Deshun has that will to win,” Frost said. “If we needed a bucket, he got it. I’m so proud of him. He is a senior. He took over on the big stage.”
Harwell was the only D-back to play all 32 minutes, while teammate Kody Smoot added 13 points. Century (21-5) returns to the state semifinals for the second consecutive season and plays district rival Preston on Friday at Borah.
CENTURY 51, COLUMBIA 36
Century 14 10 11 16 — 51
Columbia 7 3 18 8 — 36
Century (51) Harwell 22, Smoot 13, Burke 3, Gunter 6, Rogers 4, Zink 3.
Columbia (36) Poulton 4, Pugmire 10, Landin 5, Alexander 8, Schulkins 9.