Last year’s edition of the Mountlake Terrace Hawks finished the regular season with a record of 11-9, earned the runner-up spot at the District 1 2A Boys Basketball Tournament, was victorious in their 2A Regional game and qualified for play at the 2A Hardwood Classic in the Yakima Valley SunDome in March.
But all that success isn’t what the team – and specifically Khyree Armstead – remembers most.
After their 2016-2017 season ended with a defeat on the first day of play at the SunDome, Armstead wants to erase that painful memory with a new achievement at the end of this year – an extended stay in Yakima.
“Our goal is to play on March 3, on that Saturday (of the state tournament),” Armstead said. “We want to play in the state championship – and I want to win that game.”
Armstead and his Hawk teammates begin their quest for a 2017-2018 WIAA 2A Boys Basketball Tournament championship trophy on Tuesday, Nov. 28 with a road game at Lake Washington High School.
Armstead likes the chances of this year’s squad duplicating a Hardwood Classic qualification – “Duplicate and more,” Armstead insists.
Armstead, who averaged 13 points and almost seven rebounds as a junior, is one of seven returnees from last year’s Hawk squad. Also back will be fellow seniors Brendan Hayes, Keegan Grayson, Connor Williams and Max Hull, in addition to junior Mason Peterson and sophomore Mason Christianson. Rounding out the varsity roster will be Bradey Blackmer and Akol Yel, who played for Terrace two seasons ago and is back after living out-of-state for a year.
“This is a group of guys,” Armstead said. “Everybody loves each other, we’re all hanging out together. This is a good team.”
Now in his third year playing varsity basketball for Terrace, Armstead had been urged by Coach Nalin Sood to become a leader among his peers this season.
“He wants to see more leadership out of me,” Armstead explained. “Last year we didn’t have a lot of leadership, so this year he really wants me to lead these guys and spread the positivity so that we can all just play well.”
If Armstead needs an example of what Terrace basketball leadership looks like, he doesn’t have to look far; he watched his older brother Marcus lead the Hawks to a fourth place finish in the 2013 3A state basketball championships.
“It was good watching him play basketball here for three years,” Khyree said of his older sibling. “I kind of want to mirror what he did.”
Armstead and the rest of his Hawk teammates will be hard-pressed to match the 23-4 record of that 2012-2013 squad. Terrace is now a 2A-classified school but still playing a schedule dominated by much-larger schools. And in their Wesco League games this year, the Hawks will face three teams that qualified for the 3A state tournament last March: Edmonds-Woodway, Shorecrest and Stanwood, the third-place finisher in the tourney.
Armstead welcomes the opportunity to play tough teams this year. “We’re just expecting competition every night; that’s just going to get us better,” he said.
The Hawks hope that competition will prepare them for a memorable postseason and yet another trophy for the school’s basketball display case.
To view Mountlake Terrace’s entire 2017-2018 schedule, click http://www.wescoathletics.com/index.php?pid=0.3.40.3.320.
2017-2018 MTHS Hawks Boys Basketball
Head Coach: Nalin Sood (17th season)
2016-2017 record: 14-11 overall
Key returning players: Khyree Armstead, Brendan Hayes, Keegan Grayson, Akol Yel
Nov. 28 — first game of regular season, at Lake Washington
Dec. 9 — game at Alliance Flooring Showdown, Highline College, vs. Tahoma
Dec. 28 & 29 — games during Mountlake Terrace Holiday Tournament
Jan. 15 — game at Lower Columbia College all-day event, vs. Ridgefield
Feb. 5 — final game of regular season, at Marysville-Pilchuck
Feb. 7 — postseason play begins
–By Doug Petrowski