Nate Cunningham had the most important point in his basketball career Friday night at Stanwood High School during Lindbergh’s 2A Regional game against Squalicum (Bellingham).
The five-foot-eight sophomore found himself at the free throw line with less than five seconds left of the second overtime period with the Eagles up by two points. Cunningham said after the game he was able to drown out a very loud Squalicum student section and focus on what needed to be done. “I wanted to make both baskets,” he said. The first was nothing but net, giving the Eagles a three point led. The second shot bounced off the rim and narrowly back to Cunningham who following his shot.
The ball bounced off Cunningham to another Squalicum player who bobbled the ball in the backcourt, they passed to Squalicum star Joseph Chunphakvenn who made a last ditch shot only to come up short and giving the Eagles a 67-64 win and the school’s first state appearance since 1991.
“The boys played hard and we put ourselves in a position to win, said first year head coach Robert Graham. “In my 25 years of coaching this is one of the most exciting games.”
The Lindbergh boys (15-12) started off slow in the first half with missed shots and rebounds. “I called timeouts early to get the boys to settle down, including Keum,” said Graham.
Once the boys settled down, they were able to come back and trail by one at the half. In the third quarter the Eagles great zone defense limited the Storm to just six points to take a 38-32 led. The Storm came back in the fourth thanks to several third pointers to send the game into overtime.
Lindbergh had a chance in the final second of the first overtime when the Eagles found themselves under their own hoop with 0.8 seconds. Casey Huppe inbound the ball to Jimmy Keum to the far side for a quick shot that hit the far rim and missed sending into the second overtime, 58-58.
This was Lindbergh’s first 2A regional appearance and will return to the state tournament quarterfinals for the first time since 1991. With Friday’s win the boys have already reached further than the 1991 who lost both games and were eliminated.
Lindbergh doesn’t have much time to celebrate their upset, on Sunday the team will find out who they play as part of the Washington Interscholastic
Activities Association holds its . Live updates on the draw will be on the Patch Facebook and Twitter pages with analysis later in the day.
Lindbergh's first game will be Thursday at the SunDome in Yakima.
Coach Graham says no matter what team they get in the quarterfinals, they team will need to work harder, especially with back to back days of basketball and possibly a third day with a win Thursday or Friday.
Lindbergh 67, Squalicum 64 2OT
Lindbergh 14 11 13 13 7 9 67
Squalicum 19 7 6 19 7 6 64
Lindbergh scorers: James Keum 25; Colin Malone 13; Nate Cunningham 10; Casey Huppe 10; Brandon Brown 6; Mario Garcia 3
Other 2A Regional results (Five of the top 10 ranked schools
were eliminated Friday night in Regional play; four schools will enter
quarterfinal play not ranked, including Lindbergh).
Wapato 61, Medical Lake 44
Toppenish 68, #5 West Valley Spokane 62
Kingston 74, Cedarcrest 74
#1 Clover Park 71, #8 Mark Morris 55
#7 White River 56, North Thurston 37
#6 Anacortes 63, #10 River Ridge 54
#2 Lynden 64, #9 Sumner 55