The Mules entered the game as the clear favorites over the Pacific’s fourth place finishers, despite finishing the regular season as the sixth seed from the Central League. Unfortunately, being the better team on paper means nothing once the game begins, a fact that played out in gruesome fashion against the Seagulls. A multitude of turnovers and missed shots from near point blank range hindered the Mules as they trailed nearly the entire game, slowly chipping away at the Raymond lead.
The Seagulls led 13-6 after the first quarter but the Mules were able to cut the lead down to two at the break, 18-16. The Mules inched closer after three quarters, cutting the lead to 29-28 going into the fourth.
After trailing nearly the entire game, the Mules finally took their first lead since the opening minutes, going up 36-33 with four minutes to play. The lead was short lived though, as Raymond knotted the game at 36 on the following possession and proceeded to take back control of the game. ]
The Mules found themselves down 41-36 with 1:21 remaining in the game and Raymond in possession of the ball. After forcing a turnover, Brandon Budd cut the lead to three with a lay in with less than a minute to go. After a near steal by Budd in the backcourt, the Mules eventually forced Raymond to throw the ball away with 38 seconds on the clock.
The Mules couldn’t capitalize on the opportunity, however, failing to inbound the ball as the throw in careened off a Mule and rolled back out of bounds. After a missed three-point attempt with 15 seconds remaining, the Mules were forced to foul Raymond to stop the clock. Four fouls later, the Mules still needed one more foul to send Raymond to the line but the clock was down to 1.4 seconds.
Just as all hope seemed to be lost for the Mules, the inbounder for Raymond inexplicably held onto the ball long enough to draw a 5-second violation call that gave the Mules one last desperation heave.
With Gunnar Blix throwing the ball in from the far baseline and four Mules lined up across the court, Blix threw a perfect pass that was caught by Shane Souvenir on the right wing. Souvenir quickly turned and fired but the shot was just long and rimmed off the back of the iron, and the Gulls went away with the win.
Souvenir, a senior, led the Mules for the final time with 16 points; Budd contributed 14, and Seth Doumit tallied the other eight.
Two days earlier, the Mules dropped into the consolation bracket following a 64-52 loss at the hands of the Mossyrock Vikings.
Poor shooting and a barrage of turnovers again plagued the Mules, who twice managed to cut a 10-point Viking lead in the fourth quarter down to four and then again to three, before Mossy pushed it back to the final difference.
Souvenir led the Mules with 21 points, Blix came off the bench to score 12, Budd netted eight, Doumit seven, and two apiece from Austin Good and Travis Wegdahl.
Last Thursday night, the Mules opened up their postseason with a 77-28 drubbing of the Pacific League’s third-placed Ocosta Wildcats in Montesano. The game got out of hand rather quickly as the Mules opened up the game on a 10-0 run before the Wildcats scored, then proceeded to go on a 9-0 run. The Mules ended the quarter up 19-4 and subsequently outscored the Cats 22-7 in the second to take a convincing 41-11 lead into the break.
The second half went much like the first as the Mule lead ballooned well out of reach. Souvenir led all scorers with 21 points, followed closely by Good with 18 and Budd 15. Wegdahl contributed seven, Doumit and Blix tallied five apiece, Ryan Quigley four and Joey Moore two.