Down by 20, Terrace girls come back to edge Warriors 63-62

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MTHS basketball logoIt was a match-up between undefeated girls basketball teams Tuesday night at Mountlake Terrace High School – and it lived up to all expectations.

The Edmonds-Woodway Warriors broke open a tight first half by outscoring the Mountlake Terrace Hawks 20-5 in the third quarter. But down by 20 points early in the fourth, Terrace went on a 23-2 run to close out the game and grab an unbelievable 63-62 win over the Warriors.

“It’s going to be hard to chill down and get some sleep tonight,” said a fired up Terrace Head Coach Zach Wilde after the game.

Wilde had been animated early in the fourth quarter, but for a different reason. With 6:32 to go in the game, Wilde stepped five feet out onto the court, clapping his hands enthusiastically after what he perceived as a bad call against his team. After one referee simply ushered him off the court, Wilde made a “V” with the index and middle finger of this right hand, pointed them at his eyes, then at a second referee across the court from him.

That second referee quickly issued a technical foul against Wilde.

The resulting converted free throws and Warrior possession gave the visitors a 20-point lead over the Hawks, but the “T” may have provided the spark that ignited the big Terrace comeback.

“Sometimes it’s good; sometimes you need to fire up the kids. I learned a lot from Lou Pinella when I was a kid,” Wilde said about the technical foul. “But at the same time, if I’ve got to tell the girls to keep your composure, I still got to keep mine as well.”

Down 60-40, the Hawks turned up the defense, slowed down the hot-shooting Warrior backcourt of Natalie Kasper and Mady Burdett, and began hitting outside shots of their own. “They started getting momentum,” conceded Warrior Head Coach Rebekah Wells. “We just were on our heels a little bit and trying to get back into it, (but) our shots weren’t falling.”

The shots were falling for Hawk junior Samantha Romanowski, who scored 15 of her 32 points in the fourth quarter before fouling out with 34 seconds left in the game. The foul put the Warriors at the line with E-W up 62-61, but they couldn’t convert, giving Terrace a chance to take the lead.

With his top scorer out of the game, Wilde knew just who he wanted to take the shot that would put the Hawks ahead. “You know, I walked over to Nikki (Froehlich) – I don’t know if anyone saw it – I went over to her and said you’re going to win the game for us,” Wilde stated. “I didn’t say it like that, but I said it’s your time to go out there. I’m been trying to say that to her for a long time.”

“For a girl that passes the ball every time, she sure made a great shot at the end of the game,” he added.
Froehich drove the left side of the key and lifted up a short floater that banked in with 13 seconds left and put Terrace up 63-62.

Edmonds-Woodway had two final chances to steal back the win, but missed two free throws with five seconds left, and a half-court desperation heave at the final buzzer fell short.

The win not only propelled Terrace to a 4-0 start to the season, but sets them up well for the start of conference play on Friday, Dec 13, when they must face the Meadowdale Mavericks on the road. “For this group of girls, for where they’ve been to be where they are right now, and to do that, that’s just going to do nothing but build confidence for our team,” Wilde concluded.

Wells downplayed the lost and any effects it may have on her Warrior team. “Let’s keep our heads up,” she told her squad after the game. “We have our first league game (Friday). This game really doesn’t matter in the overall standings; it’s just another game.”

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