Story and photo by Doug Petrowski
Coach Nalin Sood has consistently said of his Mountlake Terrace boys basketball team, ranked sixth in the 3A state rankings, that they can get better. It’s been a line he has told anyone who would listen time-after-time this season. Following the Hawks’ 64-32 pounding of Oak Harbor in the semi-final round of the Northwest District 3A Basketball Tournament Saturday night, Sood found it difficult this time to claim the team can improve.
“Those first 16 minutes, I’m going to have to search really hard to find some mistakes. I don’t know, but I’m going to try,” said Sood of his squad’s effort in the first half. “Against a good team, that was as good a first half that we’ve played, without a doubt.”
Terrace came out firing from the opening tip-off, building a 16-3 lead after the first 4:19 of the game. The Hawk’s offensive explosion continued through the first half, reaching a high point with 2:30 left in the second quarter on an emphatic dunk by 6-2 LeTrae Sarden that brought Hawk fans and the Mountlake Terrace bench to their feet.
The Hawks led at halftime 46-11 on a Michael Lotz three-pointer at the buzzer, then stretched that lead to 39 points at times during the third quarter.
The Wildcats had no answer for the outside shooting of Marquis Armstead, Blake Fernandez, and Jesse Zerom of the Hawks. Armstead ended up with 14 points, Fernandez with 10 and Zerom with 8. And while Oak Harbor’s two 6-4 forwards — Dayne Herron and Chris Hailer — tried to create a physical presence on the inside for Oak Harbor (12-10), they were no match against the bigger Hawk front line of Greg Bowman and Loren Lacasse. Bowman led all scorers with 16 points in addition to grabbing 15 rebounds.
With the win, Mountlake Terrace (20-2) is guaranteed a spot in a Region 1 game to be played at Glacier Peak High School on Saturday, Feb. 23. But Sood and the Hawks aren’t looking ahead to regionals yet.
“We’re happy to be in regionals; you never take it for granted. There’s a lot of good teams that won’t make it,” Sood stated. “But we’ve got a district championship game next Saturday night that our kids will want to be successful in. It’s not going to be easy, They’re going to have to earn it.”
That Northwest District championship game will be against the Stanwood Spartans, a 62-58 winner over Glacier Peak on Saturday. The Spartans (17-5) overcame a 10-point halftime deficit to slip past the Grizzlies.
Tip-off for the Mountlake Terrace-Stanwood district championship game is set for Saturday, Feb. 16, at 8 p.m. at Jackson High School.
Mountlake Terrace quarter scoring: 26 – 20 – 8 – 10 – 64
Oak Harbor quarter scoring: 7 – 4 – 6 – 15 – 32
Mountlake Terrace individual scoring: Greg Bowman 16; Marquis Armstead 14; Blake Fernandez 10; Michael Lotz 9; Jesse Zerom 8; Yohans Tewolde 3; LeTrae Sarden 2; Yoel Tekle 2; Loren Lacasse; Isaiah Green
Oak Harbor individual scoring: Dayne Herron 9; Chris Hailer 9; JoJo Webster 6; Drew Washington 4; Gabe Groenig 2; Dyllan Harris 2; Zach Jones; Cortez Ridley; Donavan Sellgren; Anfrenee Angkaw