In the cruelest round of the WIAA 3A Boys State Basketball Tournament, the Mountlake Terrace Hawks had their hopes of reaching tourney play at the Tacoma Dome ended Saturday with a 58-38 loss to the Wilson Rams.
The defeat not only ended the Hawks’ tournament run, but ended their 2013-2014 season. The team finished the year with a record of 17-8.
Terrace earned a share of the Wesco 3A South division title, and placed second in the District 1 tournament, earning a spot in regional play of the state tourney. But the Hawks faced a tough match-up in the loser-out game against 4th-ranked Wilson in a gym at Mount Tahoma High School packed primarily with Ram supporters.
The Rams’ defensive intensity proved too much for Terrace as the team committed 20 turnovers – eight in the first quarter alone – and scored a season low of 38 points.
“We knew they were fast, we knew they were quick, but they played a physical style too,” said Hawk Coach Nalin Sood. “They don’t back down, and you have to really handle the basketball to get in your sets and execute against them. And it was tough to get into our offense.”
Although the Hawks out-rebounded Wilson 31-23, the turnovers and poor shooting proved to be the downfall of the team. Terrace was especially ineffective with its three-point shooting, converting only four of 20 attempts from beyond the arc.
Greg Bowman, who averaged more than 18 points per game this year, was held to just 11 by the Wilson defense. Prescott Day was the only other Hawk in double figures, scoring 10 points. Loren Lacasse, averaging more than 16 points per game, could only muster four points on seven shots against the Rams before fouling out with 1:31 left in the game.
“Loren got into foul trouble and we had to take him out early,” Sood noted. “He could never get into an offensive rhythm after that.”
Wilson was led in scoring by the 16 points of sophomore David Jenkins and the 15 points of junior Ivy Smith. Although a young team with only two seniors, the Rams are expected to challenge favorites Rainier Beach and Stanwood for the 3A state title at the Hardwood Classic that begins Thursday, March 6, at the Tacoma Dome.
For the Hawks, a season that started with 10 wins in the first 12 games ended with just three wins in the final seven games. And although the team didn’t make a third straight trip to the Tacoma Dome for the state quarterfinals, Sood remained positive after the Wilson loss.
“I couldn’t be more proud of these guys, especially our four seniors,” Sood said of Bowman, Lacasse, Yoel Tekle and Yonnas Tewolde. “All four have been with the program for the past four years and this year, coming out and working hard in 59 practices, I have to hand it to all four of them.”
“I would have rather coached this team this year than to win this final game,” he added.
MTHS Boys Basketball vs. Wilson, March 1
Terrace 9 12 10 7 — 38
Wilson 13 13 17 15 — 58
MTHS individual scoring: Greg Bowman 11; Prescott Day 10; Gabe Altenberger 5; Loren Lacasse 4; Yoel Tekle 4; Matthew Moisant 4; Isaiah Green, Yonnas Tewolde; Derek Anyimah
Wilson individual scoring: David Jenkins 16; Ivy Smith 15; Alphonso Anderson 9; Jamal Welch 9; Elijah Welch 3; Montre Brown 2; Jerrell Gray 2; Robert Knox 2; Tyler Smith; Keun Thompson; Demache Booth
Records: Mountlake Terrace 17-8 (season ends); Wilson 22-3 (advances to WIAA 3A Boys State Tournament quarterfinals)
— By Doug Petrowski