North Thurston High School hosted its rival Timberline for boys and girls basketball games, closing out the regular season of the South Sound Conference WIAA 3A league play on February 1, 2024. The Ram ladies won in the first game 68-51, but the Blazer boys captured the second game 57-56 in a back-and-forth nail-biter.
The North Thurston girls team (17-0, 14-0 SSC) continued their undefeated season and captured the 2024 SSC league title with the win. North Thurston played a controlled and high-tempo game, forcing the Blazers to make many first quarter errors that ended up giving the Rams a first quarter 24-02 lead they would never relinquish.
Rams head coach Jackie Meyer, was proud of the battle of her team and thinks her team is playing great. “Our goal has always been beyond tonight but we are focusing on Districts now and that is the net we want to cut down and then we will look to State and we want some hardware,” Meyers proclaimed after the win. “We are setting new expectations and every year this program has improved. We are past just looking at the league title. This team wants more and has high expectations and with high expectations comes pressure but these girls – who have played together for three years – are doing a great job of dealing with that pressure and it just doesn’t get to them.”
Coach Liz Canright, for Timberline, (18-2, 12-2 SSC) will look to regroup and reset moving into District play. “We are young and all season we have played together with a rhythm and a flow but we had to work on correcting some things at halftime and we played a better second half,” Canright stated. “We are young and we are learning to move the ball, work together and trust each other but these girls are resilient. They are one of the hardest-working teams I’ve coached and they will not quit. They are competitive with a great work ethic and desire to compete.”
North Thurston and Timberline start District play Friday, February 9, with both teams hosting teams to be determined.
North Thurston Boys Basketball
In the boys matchup, Timberline (13-5, 12-2 SSC) triumphed over North Thurston (19-4, 13-1) giving the Rams their first league loss and moving the Blazers into the second spot for SSC district seeding. North Thurston clinched the league earlier in the week. The game against Timberline was a see-saw of lead changes with aggressive pressure from Timberline, steady play from North Thurston guards and senior Ray Allen, and huge shots by both teams.
Timberline head coach Ray Allen was thrilled for the win. “Tonight, we had a real team effort and our top three guys came through and we had a lot of energy,” Allen remarked postgame. “I give a ton of credit to what North Thurston has built and Ray Allen is the MVP of our league, but we played as a team and that was huge. Our composure was different this time and we had good team defense and energy and that was the key.”
Timberline looks to prepare for Kelso or Evergreen from the Greater St. Helens League. “We are familiar with this next step as a program but not so much as individuals but I’m excited for these guys and it’s always good to be playing well at this point in the season.”
Coach Mike Conner praised Timberline and their game plan and he said his team looks to adjust moving into League play. “I just give Timberline a ton of credit and they had a good game plan and came out and executed it and you can tell they were hungry and it was a good lesson for us,” Connors stated. “It’s playoff and state playoff mentality now. For us, we made some uncharacteristic mistakes and credit to Timberline for that. They came out and forced us into some of that. We just missed out on some things and were on our heels instead of attack mode but we will look at the film and adjust moving forward.”