After a tough two-point loss against Arlington last Friday, the Mountlake Terrace High School boys basketball team was hoping to rebound in a Monday match-up with perennial power Central Catholic of Portland at the King Showcase in Kent. Instead, the Hawks committed 16 turnovers and could only muster 43 points, falling to the Rams 46-43 at ShoWare Center.
“That’s two years in a row we’ve come down here and not shot very well,” said Hawk Head Coach Nalin Sood. “But with the turnovers we had tonight, that was a big obstacle for us and tough to overcome.”
The 43-point total was the season low for a Terrace team that has been averaging 66.3 points per game. The squad’s top scorers, Loren Lacasse and Greg Bowman, each had off nights, scoring 15 and 11 respectively.
Central Catholic (5-7), the Oregon state 6A runner-up from last year, come into Monday’s game with a defensive plan specifically designed to slow down the Hawk attack. “We had saw Mountlake Terrace play last summer. We saw some film on them, and got to know their personnel a little bit and what they’re trying to accomplish. So we felt prepared going in, which helped our guys obviously,” explained Ram Head Coach Dan Munson.
“We thought the defense set the tone, and that’s something we have to if we’re going to win,” he added.
That game plan included a full-court press and a strong push against the Terrace ball handlers. “You can tell (Central Catholic) won the football state championships,” said Sood. “They’re a physical team — they don’t let you go where you want to go. They make you work for everything, so you’re going to have to work to get good shots.”
“And then add on to that you’re not even getting some shots because of turnovers, that limits your chances,” Sood added.
Central Catholic was led in scoring by guard Xavier Hallinan, who scored 11 of his game-high 17 points in the first quarter. When he wasn’t scoring, Hallinan was dishing off to his teammates for easy baskets; the junior had seven assists in the game.
The Rams built up a nine-point lead with 2:38 left in the third quarter, but a 12-0 run by the Hawks gave Terrace a 38-35 lead early in the fourth. However, Central Catholic regained the lead at the 5:35 mark of the final quarter, added an emphatic dunk by junior Blake Brandel with 4:24 to go, and never lost the lead the rest of the way.
Terrace had an opportunity to tie the game in the final seconds when, down by three, had possession of the ball with 10.4 seconds to go. But the team never got a three-point shot off as the Rams fouled Isaiah Green intentionally, sending him to the free throw line for a 1-and-1 opportunity. Green made the first free throw, missed the second, and Central Catholic grabbed the rebound. The Rams added a free throw of their own and secured the win.
“Fact is, it was a three-point game and we had our chances in the end there; we kept fighting and fighting and fighting, so that’s a positive,” Sood noted. “But we’ve got to shore up the turnover thing against good teams if we’re going to go beat anyone that’s really good. That’s now four games that we’ve played pretty darn good basketball teams that we haven’t got it done against. It’s disappointing.”
The loss dropped Terrace’s record to 10-4, numbers that may sound good but don’t tell the whole story according to the head coach. “All four of our losses have come down to one possession. But you’ve got to get one eventually here,” he said. “We’ve got to get one eventually here to feel good about it. Competing is great and competing is dandy, but you want to get over the hump a little bit also.
“You’re never going to have the confidence level until you win one. So I think our guys know they can compete, go out there and play hard, and every game is going to be a battle. But you got to get one to get your confidence. So I don’t know if we’ve ever had it, because you’ve got to go win one to get it,” Sood said.
The Hawks have a couple of chances this week to build some team confidence as they face two squads with above .500 records in Wesco League play. Terrace will take on the Everett Seagulls (4-3 league) on Tuesday, Jan. 21, at Everett Community College, then will travel to Meadowdale to face the Mavericks (4-3) on Thursday, Jan. 23. Tip-off for both games is set for 7:15 p.m.
MTHS Boys Basketball vs. Central Catholic (Portland), Jan. 20
Central Catholic 16 8 11 11 — 46
Mountlake Terrace 13 8 12 10 — 43
MTHS individual scoring: Loren Lacasse 15; Greg Bowman 11; Gabe Altenberger 6; Matthew Moisant 5; Prescott Day 3; Yoel Tekle 2; Isaiah Green 1; Yonnas Tewolde
Central Catholic individual scoring: Xavier Hallinan 17; Blake Brandel 14; Patrick Myers 6; Cole Stringer 4; LaMar Winston 3; Cameron Scarlett 1; Ben College 1; Aiden Wilder
Records: Mountlake Terrace 5-2 in Wesco League, 10-4 overall; Central Catholic 5-9 overall
MTHS next game: versus Everett, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 7:15 p.m. at Everett Community College
— Story and photos by Doug Petrowski