NORTH BEND — During the coaches dinner on the eve of the Class 3A state basketball tournament, Horizon Christian coach Dave Brown joked that the fine print in the state tournament rules said his Hawks and Dayton are only supposed to meet in the championship game, having had several memorable title battles in recent years.
The Hawks and Pirates put on a title-worthy show in the quarterfinals Thursday, with top-ranked Dayton overcoming lights-out shooting by the Hawks for a 69-66 win.
Dayton rallied from a 5-point deficit in the final five minutes, aided by a trio of timely 3-pointers by Bailey West, to advance to the semifinals and a game Friday against Cascade Christian.
“I was just trying to do whatever I can to get the win,” said West, who had 12 of his 15 points in the second half.
The Hawks, who had been beaten by Dayton twice in the West Valley League season, nearly pulled off the upset because of amazing 3-point shooting.
Horizon Christian hit seven of its first eight from long range, had another with a player’s foot on the line and finished the game shooting 13-for-20 from 3-point range (65 percent) and 61 percent on all field goals.
“It was a good game,” Horizon Christian’s Anthony Sprauer said. “It was really fun.”
But, he added, “It’s just a bummer.”
Horizon Christian played by far its best game against the Pirates this season, Sprauer said.
That didn’t surprise Dayton coach Ron Hop.
“They shot the ball extremely well,” Hop said of the Hawks. “They were extremely good tonight. I told the kids they were going to be good tonight. They’re extremely well-coached.”
From the start, it was an incredible shooting display by both teams, especially the Hawks.
Horizon Christian made its first six 3-pointers, by five different players. Brady Egger made all three of his shots from beyond the arc in the first half before Cody Wyatt became the Hawks’ top weapon from outside the final two quarters, making four of his own.
Dayton countered with its own display of deep shooting, though not with quite as much proficiency.
Zach Bernards hit five 3-pointers in the first half and Tanner Lewis added three more.
Neither hit a 3 in the second half, but West had four and Braden Nowlin two. For the night, Dayton was 15-for-30 on 3-pointers and just under 50 percent overall.
The Hawks led by one after one quarter, Dayton led by two at halftime and Horizon Christian was up 52-48 heading to the fourth quarter and smelling an upset.
“We were really confident,” Sprauer said.
When the 6-foot-7 junior had a monster dunk with 5 minutes to go, the Hawks led 61-56.
Dayton tied the score on a 3-pointer by West and a steal-and-hoop by Bernards, his only field goal of the second half.
Tanner Schiele put the Hawks back in front with a 3-pointer, but West hit from long range again.
Horizon Christian took its last lead on an inside basket by Sprauer with 1:25 to go, but West put Dayton in front with a 3-pointer with 54 seconds left.
The Hawks were hurt by two traveling calls late, one that led to a 3-pointer by West and another when they were running the clock down for a potential game-winning hoop. After that turnover, Horizon Christian had to start fouling furiously because they had five fouls to commit to get Dayton into the one-and-one. When that finally happened, Bernards hit a pair of free throws with 15 seconds left and Wyatt was just short on a game-tying 3-pointer from the wing, allowing Dayton to escape.
Dayton hasn’t faced many deficits late this year — the team’s only loss was a close game against Amity — but the Pirates held their composure in the fourth.
“We’re just trying to get what we came here to do and not put our heads down when we’re down,” West said.
Bernards finished with 19 points and Jalen Flowers had 18 inside for Dayton. West scored 15 and Lewis 11.
Sprauer had 25 points for the Hawks and Wyatt had 15.
The two teams did a great job sharing the ball to find their open shooters.
Bernards and Nowlin combined for 14 assists for Dayton and Conner Zralka had 10 assists for the Hawks.
Both teams were left looking ahead after an emotionally taxing quarterfinal matchup.
“We’re going to have to get hydrated,” Hop said of the Pirates.
“It’s a great win tonight, but we’ve got to keep our eyes focused (on the prize).”
Last year, Dayton lost in the semifinals, something they don’t want to see happen again.
For the Hawks, meanwhile, the challenge was bouncing back to get to a trophy game.
“We’ll just come out with more confidence,” Sprauer said.