Story and photo by Doug Petrowski
First in a series previewing the Mountlake Terrace High School 2012-13 winter season sports teams.
For Coach Nalin Sood, the MTHS boys basketball team that went 23-3 last year, captured the 3A Wesco league championship and earned a WIAA 3A State Tournament berth was a group that achieved great success, “but last season is exactly that, last season. This year we hope to make our own mark and create our own identity,” he said.
The 2012-13 Hawk basketball team opens the season Tuesday, Nov. 27, at Edmonds-Woodway High School with a 7:15 p.m. match-up against the Warriors.
This year’s squad will have to find a way to make up for the loss of players Ryan Shannon, Coby Russell, and brothers Andrew and Eric Moisant. “Their character, leadership, toughness and winning attitudes were key to last year’s successful run,” Sood said of his 2012 graduates.
Shannon averaged 10.5 points, 10 rebounds and 2.5 rebounds per game for the Hawks and is now at Montana State University, where he is redshirting his freshman year with the Bobcats. Russell was a strong presence on the front line, while the Moisant twins provided quickness and outside shooting for the team.
This year Sood will rely on his senior guards Blake Fernandez, Jesse Zerom and Marquis Armstead for team leadership. Unfortunately Fernandez will miss the first month of the season with a broken wrist. “Until Blake comes back we will be challenged and take a while to fill the void he leaves as a player and a great leader for us,” Sood said. “Others must step up and fill this void.”
Both Fernandez and Armstead were recognized for their strong seasons last year with postseason honors. Fernandez was named to the All-Wesco second team; Armstead was honored as an All-Wesco first team member.
With the absence of Shannon this year, Sood is looking for his junior post players — 6-7 Greg Bowman and 6-5 Loren Lacasse — to have big seasons for the Hawks.
Sood is entering his 12th season as head coach and aiming to maintain the level of play the program has had under his leadership. “We are hoping to have a great season and continue to uphold the successes of our former great teams and players,” he said. Since taking over the top coaching spot in 2001 the Hawks are 179-109 and have earned six state tournament appearances, three in the past four years.
Mountlake Terrace certainly doesn’t have a cakewalk back to the state tournament, or even another Wesco title; Shorewood and Glacier Peak are returning strong line-ups and are expected to challenge in the 3A Wesco South conference.
In addition to Wesco action, the Hawks will again host the MTHS Holiday Tourney Dec. 28 and 29, and will play in the Martin Luther King Day event at Showare Center in Kent against the perennial power Fairfax High School Lions of Los Angeles.
Most 2012-13 Hawk basketball games will be broadcast live on the Hawks Live Sports Network on MLTnews.