The Mountlake Terrace High School girls basketball team sailed into uncharted waters on Wednesday night, playing in the postseason for the first time in years. This year’s squad was able to navigate some rough seas and come away with a 57-52 victory over the Stanwood Spartans in the opening game of the District 1 3A Girls Basketball Tournament at Mountlake Terrace High School.
The win sends Terrace to a District 1 semi-final on Saturday, Feb. 15, at Lynnwood High School,where they will take on district rival Meadowdale. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m. The winner of that game will play for the district championship and is guaranteed a spot in a regional match-up on either Feb. 28 or March 1.
The Hawks used a big third quarter to overcome a halftime deficit, then held on in a tense fourth quarter to defeat the Spartans.
“I’m really happy with how we handled the game with two of our best players sitting on the bench,” said Hawk Coach Zach Wilde. “That’s what really got me excited; we finished the game with two of them on the bench.”
Leading 48-41 with 3:30 left in the game, Terrace’s Maddy Kristjanson picked up her fifth foul, disqualifying her from any further play. Stanwood pulled to within three points, 50-47, but a three-point bucket by Samantha Romanowski gave Terrace some breathing room.
Then with 38.4 seconds left, the Hawks lost Nikkie Froehlich for the remainder of the match when she picked up her fifth foul. Stanwood was able to close to within three points again, at 55-52, but a Claire Zucker free throw pushed the Terrace lead to four. Stanwood turned the ball over in its next possession and Hawk Shaian Pagaling added a free throw to close out the scoring and secure the Terrace victory.
The Hawk team came out of a timeout following Kristjanson’s ejection with plenty of fire and determination, inspired by words from Wilde. “I can’t remember everything I said, but I did say, ‘this is where you tighten up. This is where you do bigger things. This is where you go out and win it for her, where you go out and play with confidence that we’re not losing, we’re going to win,’” he explained.
Terrace was only able to hold on late after a third quarter that included a 10-2 run for the Hawks that flipped a four-point Stanwood lead, 29-25, to a four-point Terrace advantage 35-31. The Spartans fought back to tie the game at 35, but Terrace scored the next six points and would never give up the lead again.
Romanowski led the Hawks in scoring with 16 points, seven of which came in the fourth quarter. Froehlich contributed 15 points while Kirsty Dale added 10. Stanwood was led by the 15 points of Julia Heichel. Other Spartans in double figures were Tristan Murphy with 13 points and Jullian Jacobs with 10.
In other District 1 tournament games, Meadowdale earned its spot in the semi-finals with a 51-45 upset of Everett. Glacier Peak defeated Marysville-Pilchuck 48-37, and Ferndale beat Shorecrest 55-51.
You can view the current District 1 3A Girls Basketball Tournament brackets here.
MTHS Girls Basketball vs. Stanwood, Feb. 12
Stanwood 15 11 9 17 — 52
Terrace 13 12 14 18 — 57
MTHS individual scoring: Samantha Romanowski 16; Nikkie Forehlich 15; Kristy Dale 10; Shaian Pagaling 6; Maddy Kristjanson 4; Claire Zucker 4; Riley Zucker 2
Stanwood individual scoring: Julia Heichel 15; Tristan Murphy 13; Jullian Jacobs 10; Haley Strowbridge 5; Samantha Powell 5; Sierra Palmer 2; Janea Taylor 2; Ashley Bierer
Records: Mountlake Terrace 17-4; Stanwood 11-10
MTHS next game: versus Meadowdale, Saturday, Feb. 15, 8:00 p.m. at Lynnwood High School
— By Doug Petrowski