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Garfield returns favor, takes 3A Metro road boys basketball victory over Eastside Catholic, 3 takeaways

Legend Smiley scores 28 points as No. 10 Bulldogs beat top-ranked Crusaders, 78-72, in Sammamish

SAMMAMISH, Wash. - You might get the occasional lick in on defending Class 3A boys basketball champion Garfield, but at some point - bet on the favor being returned.

It was Thursday night.

Legend Smiley scored 20 of his game-high 28 point in the second half, including a back-breaking layin with 48 seconds to go, and the 10th-ranked Bulldogs rallied to stun No. 1 Eastside Catholic, 78-72.

Garfield did not grab its first lead - 60-59 - until there was 7:13 remaining on a Dre Niko free throw.

Kayden Green led Eastside Catholic with 17 points while Virginia signee Jacob Cofie added 15.

The Crusaders beat Garfield in Seattle, 75-67, in early December.

Here are three takeaways from the Garfield-Eastside Catholic game:

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LEGEND SMILEY TOOK OVER

The Bulldogs trailed by as many as 10 points in the first half as Smiley was limited to just eight points.

The junior changed the game's tone right at the outset of the second half.

He sank two deep 3-pointers. assisted on Sammy Taylor's inside basket and his offensive rebound kept a Garfield possession alive - one that ended with an Ishe Kanhukamwe 3-pointer to close the gap to 44-43 at the 4:26 mark of the third quarter.

"We had to come out stronger," Smiley said.

Smiley scored 11 points in the quarter, then added nine points in the fourth quarter.

"We’ve been telling him, 'You are a junior now, but you are one of the best players in he state and teams are going to ry and take you out,'" Garfield boys coach Brandon Roy said. "If he can be patient early in games … if he just lets it come to him, he’s going to get freed up as the game goes."

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ISHE KAMHUKAMWE HAS HOMECOMING TO REMEMBER

Kanhukamwe knows the Eastside Catholic gymnasium well. He was a starter for the Crusaders until transferring to Garfield over the summer.

In fact. Kanhukamwe was going to be a team captain at Eastside Catholic before the move.

Because he had not been cleared in early December, Kanhukamwe missed the first game. But he made a big impact Thursday, finishing with 25 points, including two clutch perimeter shots in the final three minutes.

Kanhukamwe led the team with 15 first-half points.

"I thought he was the difference in the game," Eastside Catholic boys coach Brent Merritt said.

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LATE ARRIVAL

For the Crusaders, who controlled much of the game, it was a brutal home loss.

And the way it ended was even more mind-boggling.

With Garfield leading 72-70, the two teams were huddled in a timeout as referees tried getting them back in action.

As soon as the Bulldogs found their way on the court, officials dropped the ball for them to inbound - all while Eastside Catholic players were just breaking their own huddle.

The inbound pass went right to Smiley for an uncontested layup as Eastside Catholic players watched near midcourt, and 74-70 Bulldogs lead.

"I didn’t hear the first horn, and they (the officials) just dropped (the ball)," Merritt said. "To get a wide-open layin, that kind of killed us.

"In a game like this, that was tough. But (the referee) has the right to do it."

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