Using their decisive size and experience advantage, the Mountlake Terrace Hawks eventually dispensed of the stubborn Marysville-Pilchuck Tomahawks 70-53 in the third-place game of the 3A District 1 Boys Basketball Tournament Friday night at Jackson High School.
With the victory, Terrace qualified for the regional round of the WIAA 3A State Boys Basketball Tournament on Friday, Feb. 28.
Leading by just three points after three quarters, the Hawks tightened on defense and outscored the Tomahawks 21-7 in the fourth quarter to secure the win. Marysville-Pilchuck shot 1-10 from the field and grabbed just one rebound in those final eight minutes, while Terrace shot 69% (9-13) and controlled the boards with 10 rebounds in the fourth.
“When the game was on the line our guards handled the basketball, our wings made some shots and the posts went to work inside,” said Terrace Head Coach Nalin Sood. “And that’s what a good team is going to have and not just be one-dimensional.”
Many of the Hawk baskets in the fourth quarter came from short range off sparkling inside passes, something that isn’t just the result of passing drills at team practices, Sood noted.
“You can work on it but the kids have to have that mentality. They have to have that selfless mentality. And they have to have the skill level to be able to do that,” he said. “And that’s a credit to those guys, what their skill level is, that they are good interior passers. Greg (Bowman) and Loren (Lacasse) are very good. And Yoel (Tekle), I will tell you one thing, sometimes at practice he’s the best interior passer. So it makes you hard to guard when you have guys who can do that.”
Terrace went into the match-up stressing the need for strong play from their big front line down low and in the key. “That’s what the kids talked about right before the game, win the points in the paint. And that’s what they did tonight,” Sood said.
Bowman, at 6-7, led the Hawks with 23 points, while his 6-6 co-captain on the squad, Lacasse, dropped in 20 points. Tekle (6-6) and Gabe Altenberger (6-4) added 10 points each in the victory.
The importance of the loser-out game was not lost on the team. “I was just feeling like this could be it, so I’m going to give it all my 100 percent, everything I’ve got, get my teammates involved and keep going,” Tekle said after the win.
Marysville-Pilchuck was led by the 18 points of Bryce Juneau, who scored the only Tomahawk field goal in the fourth with 1:18 remaining in the game. Michael Painter scored 13 points, but struggled against the Terrace defense, shooting just 6-16 from the field, 0-5 from beyond the three-point arc.
Despite leading only once in the game (14-13 in the first quarter) and being out-rebounded more than three-to-one, the Tomahawks stayed close to Terrace until the fateful fourth quarter.
“They’ve been playing well,” Sood said of Marysville-Pilchuck. “They beat Ferndale. They beat Glacier Peak, a good basketball team. Credit to them – they were 1-19 last year and here they play the game to go to state this year.”
But Sood saved his best praise for the four seniors on his Hawk squad: Bowman, Lacasse, Tekle and Yonnas Tewolde. “I’m just really proud of those four seniors, that they showed great leadership during tough times,” he said. “It wasn’t easy this year by any means. We had some tough losses and weren’t playing great basketball for stretches, but the guys turned it on when they needed to.”
MTHS Boys Basketball vs. Marysville-Pilchuck, Feb. 21
Marysville-Pilchuck 16 14 16 7 — 53
Mountlake Terrace 18 16 15 21 — 70
MTHS individual scoring: Greg Bowman 23; Loren Lacasse 20; Yoel Tekle 10; Gabe Altenberger 10; Matthew Moisant 3; Prescott Day 2; Derek Anyimah 2; Isaiah Green; Yonnas Tewolde; Shimron Masih Gabe Powter; Drew Serres
Marysville-Pilchuck individual scoring: Bryce Juneau 18; Michael Painter 13; Josh Bevan 11; Nate Heckendorf 3; Dante Fields 2; Mark Reznikov 2; Cole Grinde 2; TJ Rice 2; Zach Verge
Records: Mountlake Terrace 17-7; Marysville-Pilchuck 10-13
MTHS next game: WIAA 3A Regional game Friday, Feb. 28, against an opponent to be announced at a site to be announced.
— By Doug Petrowski