Third-ranked Skyline edges No. 4 Garfield, 51-49

January 11, 2012

By Mason Kelley

NEW — 2:35 p.m. Jan.11, 2012

With the score tied and the clock ticking toward zero, the ball was right where Will Parker wanted it — in his hands.

The Skyline High School senior point guard buried a jumper with less than a minute to play Jan. 10, pushing the third-ranked and host Spartans past fourth-ranked Garfield 51-49 in a showdown of KingCo Conference 4A division leaders.

“I’m excited to have the ball in my hands,” said Parker, who scored 14 points. “I want to win it for my team. When I get down in those crunch situations, I just focus up. I’ve got to knock it down.”

It was close throughout, a back-and-forth matchup of talented teams. Skyline’s largest lead was eight.

The Spartans looked like they could be in trouble when standout Lucas Shannon picked up his second foul less than four minutes into the game, but Nick Kassuba and Isaiah Richmond played important minutes off the bench.

“They played hard,” Skyline coach J. Jay Davis said. “They’re big bodies, big kids. They kept balls alive, helped us.”

Skyline, 10-3 overall, improved its Crest Division-leading record to 5-1. The Spartans led by three points at halftime and did a good job containing Garfield standouts Tucker Haymond and TreVaunte’ Williams.

“He (Haymond) is a great player,” said Spartans forward Max Browne, who shadowed Haymond all night. “He’s big, physical. (But) we made him work, for sure.”

In addition to playing tough defense and helping out on the glass, Browne, a touted football quarterback, hit a three-pointer that put the Spartans up eight at the end of the third quarter.

Garfield, 8-3 overall and the Crown Division leader with a 6-1 mark, rallied. Haymond led the way, scoring 10 of his game-high 20 points in the fourth quarter, including two free throws with 1:18 left that tied the game.

“It’s just two really good basketball teams,” Davis said. “Every time we face each other, we go at it. I have the utmost respect for Garfield. (Coach) Ed (Haskins) does a great job. We look forward to the game and I think our kids were pumped for it.”

Garfield had a chance to tie it at the buzzer, but a shot in the paint went in and out.

“It wasn’t the last play that decided the game,” Haymond said. “We’ve just got to go back to the drawing board and come out the next game hard.”

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