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'We’re going to the Dome:' Joshua Wood leads 15-seed Graham-Kapowsin boys to historic regional playoff upset of Glacier Peak

The Fresno State-bound QB and standout guard capped the win with a dunk to seal it

EVERETT, Wash. – Connie Richardson removed his shoes just outside his Graham-Kapowsin High School boys basketball team’s locker room, knowing full well what water and Gatorade baths were about to ensue. He darted inside to meet his team to raucous celebration, one few could have imagined when he took over this struggling program two years ago.

Now the Eagles can punch their tickets to the Tacoma Dome.

Joshua Wood and Elijah Cain scored 16 points each to lead Graham-Kapowsin to its first state-tournament victory in school history, edging Glacier Peak in a 4A loser-out game 58-56 on Saturday at Everett Community College.

This was just over two months after Wood, the Gatorade State Football Player of the Year who is headed to Fresno State University, led Graham-Kapowsin’s state-championship football team to a national-title victory over Collins Hill (Ga.) in the nationally televised GEICO State Champions Bowl Series in Las Vegas.

“I played on the biggest stage, so we knew what to do,” Wood said. “We do it at practice every day. So it’s just another thing.”

If Wood weren’t the best football player in the Pacific Northwest, he might have just as big a future in basketball.

The 6-foot-3 point guard sent Glacier Peak standout Bobby Siebers staggering to the ground in the second quarter when Wood crossed between his legs, stepped back behind the 3-point line and drilled the jumper. He moves so effortlessly with the basketball, like he might as well be carrying a football, instead.

Then there’s his fellow senior in the backcourt, Cain, a 6-foot-2 brick of an off-guard. He scored 11 of his 16 points in the third quarter as Graham-Kapowsin rode his tough inside finishes and Wood’s steal and two-handed fastbreak slam to an 11-point lead with 1:37 left to play.

That should have been the dagger. But Wood chirped at Siebers, whom he stole the ball from, and got a technical foul.

Siebers made the free throws, then quickly scored another tough bucket inside before drilling a transition 3-pointer from the left wing to pull Glacier Peak to within 54-49 with 35 seconds remaining. He scored a game-high 21 points for the Grizzlies.

But G-K’s Isaiah Norris helped ice it with two free throws before Wood hit a pair. Up 58-53, Glacier Peak ended the game with a made three-quarter court heave.

It wasn’t enough to keep G-K from celebrating.

“Nobody expected us to make it this far, that’s why it’s such a blessing,” Cain said. “Everybody was counting us out since the Camas game (a 97-95 G-K win in the district tournament on Feb. 18). We had fans walking out of the gym before we came back. We were like, we don’t even need that. We just need the guys we have in the locker room and we’re going to go as far as we possibly can.”

Two years ago, before Richardson took over, Graham-Kapowsin finished 6-14 in the 4A SPSL.

Before that he was working for his mentor at Emerald Ridge, Pat Mullen. He brought Mullen into the locker room with him after the game to say a couple of words to his team.

“This is incredible,” said Richardson, who held under his coach’s seat on the G-K bench an assortment of sodas and bags of gummy worms and Sour Patch Kids throughout the game. “We’re going to the Dome. It’s just unbelievable. “

Everybody chipped in. All our guys chipped in. That’s all we’ve been asking kids to do is just play together.”

But Graham-Kapowsin (13-9) let Glacier Peak (14-7) hang around a lot longer than Richardson wanted.

The Eagles had two technical fouls, including the late one on Wood and stretches of turnovers let Siebers get loose for a Glacier Peak squad that has reached the state tournament 10 times since 2010, including a fifth-place finish in the 2020 season. The Grizzlies looked like a team with the talent to compete for a state title had there been a state tournament last season.

But each time Glacier Peak made a run, Graham-Kapowsin answered. It was a bit emblematic of the Eagles’ season, which started off rocky, hoping their key football players would come out for basketball, including Wood. Richardson said it took until about January for them to get out of football shape and into basketball shape.

After losing three consecutive games against Rogers, Olympia and Emerald Ridge in the middle of January, G-K has since gone 8-5.

But it might have the talent coming together at the right time to make a run on anybody in the Tacoma Dome. It plays Davis in a loser-out first-round matchup at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. “

It’s crazy – nobody at school really thinks we’re going to win,” Wood said. They come out and are like, ‘We might get blown out.’ Because that’s how it’s been in previous years.

“But we stay together. Our chemistry, it wasn’t as solid in the beginning of the season. But now we’re tighter than we’ve ever been.”

---TJ Cotterill; @TJCotterill.