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Originally published March 1, 2012 at 10:02 PM | Page modified March 1, 2012 at 11:50 PM

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Top-ranked Seattle Prep hangs tough against rival O'Dea | 3A Boys

Panthers face No. 2 Kamiakin on Friday in semifinals of Class 3A state boys basketball tournament in Tacoma.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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TACOMA — At halftime, knotted in a tie game against a league rival, Michael Phillips stood up in front of his Seattle Prep teammates in the Tacoma Dome locker room. He wanted to make sure the Panthers understood what was at stake.

The senior point guard looked around the room and said it wasn't enough to just make the trip and play the game. For the state's top-ranked team, this year it's about winning it all.

"We came here for a goal," Phillips said. "We came here on a business trip. It's not just about enjoying the lights."

With that goal in mind, the Panthers pulled away late, forcing turnovers and hitting free throws to hold off No. 4 O'Dea 47-42 Thursday in the quarterfinals of the Class 3A state boys basketball tournament.

"This is the first step," said Phillips, who didn't score but dished five assists. "Clearly, every game is its own battle, but getting that first step is huge for us."

Seattle Prep (23-5) will play No. 2 Kamiakin in the semifinals at 5:30 p.m. Friday.

"It's all about confidence," said Seattle Prep junior D.J. Fenner, who finished with 15 points and five rebounds. "Our senior leader, Michael Phillips, said, 'If it comes down to it, close at the end, we're going to win this game.' "

It was a battle throughout. The Irish (20-8) led by five late in the second quarter, but the Panthers knotted the score before halftime.

The rest of the game went back-and-forth in until the final minutes. With O'Dea clinging to a three-point advantage, Jackson Clough buried a tying three-pointer, and Seattle Prep then built a lead with strong defense and free-throw shooting.

Fenner, Clough and senior Mitch Brewe, who had 12 points and 14 rebounds, all made big free throws in the final minutes.

"I thought our team did a tremendous job just persevering," Panthers coach Mike Kelly said.

Sophomore Jacob Lampkin had 10 points and eight rebounds for O'Dea, while senior Sekou Wiggs scored 15.

Rainier Beach 67, Mtlk. Terrace 51

For Rainier Beach, it was simple. The Vikings stuck to their game plan. They executed their half-court offense and ran whenever possible, advancing to the semifinals for the first time since winning the title in 2008.

"I loved it today," Rainier Beach coach Mike Bethea said about his team's execution. "I really did."

Kansas-bound senior Anrio Adams finished with 24 points, six rebounds and five assists for the Vikings (25-3). He made sure to keep younger teammates involved, especially 6-foot-8 sophomore Elijah Foster, who had 13 points and nine rebounds.

"We're here for one goal and one goal only — to get that ring," said Adams, whose team plays University of Spokane at 3:45 p.m. Friday.

Marquis Armstead led the Hawks (23-2) with 16 points. He scored 11 in the third quarter to keep the Hawks in the game.

"Our shots weren't falling in the beginning and our defense wasn't always there," Armstead said. "We didn't execute as well as we should have."

Kamiakin 58, Kennedy 47

Mitch Penner did everything he could to keep his team close against No. 2 Kamiakin, but No. 6 Kennedy Catholic couldn't overcome a slow start.

"Today we came out slow and we just really couldn't get it back," said Penner, a senior who will play for Seattle Pacific next season. "We just couldn't get over the hump."

Penner scored a game-high 23 points and had 14 rebounds for the Lancers (21-4) from Burien.

Justin Pedley had 17 points and 12 rebounds for the Braves (23-1) from Kennewick.

University 60, Lake Wash. 55

University did exactly what Lake Washington coach Brian Lund would have done if he were trying to shut down his team.

The Titans (20-4) from Spokane pushed senior center Darien Nelson-Henry out of the paint and pressured senior guard Matt Staudacher all over the floor.

"They scouted us right," Lund said. "They did what they needed to do. That's what I would have done against us."

Staudacher scored a game-high 30 points and the Kangaroos (20-7) from Kirkland took control in the third quarter. But Nelson-Henry, who had eight points and nine rebounds, suffered an ankle injury early in the fourth and Lake Washington was in foul trouble. University took advantage.

"He's been battling that all year," Staudacher said of Nelson-Henry's injury. "And foul trouble hurts. We can't play as aggressively as we'd like on defense."

Mason Kelley: 206-464-8277 or mkelley@seattletimes.com

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