Fans of Mountlake Terrace boys basketball have had plenty to root for over recent years. With four straight appearances in the state basketball tournament, and nine under coach Nalin Sood’s leadership since 2000, the program has enjoyed an abundance of success.
As Mountlake Terrace fans bring more high expectations into the new hoop season, they will have to carry one more thing into the stands this year – a program. The Hawks will feature lots of young, new faces on the roster as just one starter returns from last year’s squad that finished 17-8.
The Hawks open the 2014-15 basketball season on Tuesday, Dec. 2, with a home tilt against the Monroe Bearcats; tip-off is slated for 7:15 p.m.
Sood will suit up a line-up of mostly new varsity players this season with one notable exception: returning for his junior year will be sharpshooter Gabe Altenberger, who will serve as team co-captain along with another returnee, junior Shimron Masih.
Altenberger will be expected to supply some much needed scoring for the inexperienced Hawks as last year’s top scorers, Greg Bowman and Loren Lacasse, both have moved on due to graduation.
Bowman, who made the University of Washington Husky team as a walk-on this season, averaged more than 18 points per game for the Hawks last year; Lacasse also gave Terrace double-figure scoring in most games last season. The Hawks will need to find a way to replace that one-two-scoring punch – Altenberger is a likely component in the equation.
As a sophomore, Altenberger showed hints of his offensive explosiveness late in the year, including a 25-point outburst in the Hawk’s regular season finale at Glacier Peak.
“I started to get more comfortable last year and I definitely want more this year since I have that experience,” Altenberger said.
Sood has given the 6-3 forward a green light to put up shots at any time this season. “He’s told me to shoot whenever I’m open,” Altenberger stated. “He wants me to be aggressive.”
Altenberger is cherishing the coach’s instructions: “I like to shoot.”
Team aggressiveness will be a key factor for the new-look Hawks this year. “We’re younger and we’re a lot more smaller team, so we have to be more physical, Altenberger said.
Mountlake Terrace’s aggressiveness will be tested early as three of the squad’s first five games will be against bigger 4A schools (Monroe, Roosevelt, Puyallup).
The Hawks will start the season off with four straight home game, three this week. Following Tuesday’s opener against the Bearcats, Mountlake Terrace will host Marysville-Pilchuck in a non-conference matchup on Friday, Dec. 5, then will begin Wesco League 3A South Conference play on Saturday, Dec. 6, against Lynnwood.
The Hawks’ 2014-2015 schedule includes another as he did appearance in the Muscle Milk Preview, a one-day event at Highland Community College that features eight prep basketball games on Dec. 13. Mountlake Terrace is also slated to take part in a full day of games on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Jan. 19, 2015, at Eastside Catholic High School in Sammamish.
This year’s edition of the annual Mountlake Terrace Tournament is set for Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 29-30.
To view the entire MTHS 2014-2015 boys basketball schedule, click http://www.wescoathletics.com/index.php?league=3&page_name=game_schedule&school=40&sport=3.
– By Doug Petrowski