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Kingston loses to Squalicum in semifinal, plays Burlington-Edison Saturday for third place | State 2A Basketball Tournament

YAKIMA - Kingston's state basketball title hopes ended Friday in tears.

The two-time defending state champion Squalicum Storm defeated the Buccaneers 49-45 in the Yakima Valley SunDome, riding out a furious second half comeback by Kingston.

"We fought really hard and it didn't go our way in the end," Kingston coach Blake Conley said. "I'm really happy with the heart we showed."

Kingston will play Burlington-Edison at 11:15 a.m. Saturday, with a chance to win third place. A loss, and Kingston finishes the season in a respectable fifth place.

Squalicum was in control of the game by halftime, leading 32-21. Kingston thundered back in the the second half. The Bucs drained the Storm's lead to one as time ticked away in the fourth period.

But Kingston never gained the lead. Missed three point shots hurt the Bucs. They sank one shot from beyond the arc while the Storm rained in six.

Missed field goals by the Bucs and solid ball control by the Storm sealed the win for Squalicum. The Storm will get a shot at a third-straight state title against Clover Park on Saturday.

"It was frustrating," Kingston junior Sam Byers said. "If we could have found a few more open lanes we could have sealed it."

Emotions ran high following the loss for both coaches and players.

"It was a heartbreaker," said senior Zane Ravenholt, who led the Bucs with 18 points. "We fought really hard all season long. That's not the way we wanted to end our season."

But Ravenholt said he's confident the team will shake off the loss in time to challenge Burlington-Edison.

"We always rebound from losses, we'll come back out tomorrow and be ready to go," Ravenholt said.

His coach agreed.

"I don't have to energize them," Conley said. "They'll come out and get after it. I know they will."

Check back to NorthKitsapHerald.com for continued state coverage.

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