After being knocked out of the state playoffs last year, the Clover Park Warriors may have been a little more motivated in their Martin Luther King, Jr. Day rematch with the Mountlake Terrace Hawks.
But the Hawks doused that fire before it had any chance to burn.
With a smothering defensive effort, Terrace held Clover Park to their lowest point output of the season and defeated the Warriors 58-42 in a Lower Columbia College MLK Day Classic game played in Longview.
Against the Mountlake Terrace defense, Clover Park committed 19 turnovers, were out-rebounded 41-31, shot just 33.3 percent from the field and scored 25 points less on Monday than their season average of 67.7 points per game.
With most of the Warriors’ points normally coming from their two senior guards, Davien Harris-Williams and Anthony Grassi, Terrace Coach Nalin Sood was counting on his back-court trio of Keegan Grayson-Zehrung, Mason Christianson and sixth-man Connor Williams to slow down Clover Park’s top offensive pair.
“You hate to single guys out but our guards really had to guard their guards,” Sood said.
The Hawks’ held Harris-Williams (who averages 22.9 points per game) to 17 and Grassi (who averages 15.6) to just three points on Monday.
“It’s a credit to our guards,” Sood said, “but you also had other guys – team defense – where they’re helping a little bit, their affecting they’re shot a little bit.”
“We had a few too many turnovers, we had good shots that we’re going down; then if you’re going to be successful, as anybody knows, you’ve got to play good defense,” Sood continued. “And the guys hung their hat on defense, holding them to 42 (points). It’s a credit to the kids on how they battled on the defensive end.”
On the offensive end, the Hawks were led by the 24 points of Brendan Hayes — the senior also had 14 rebounds and three blocks. Williams came off the bench to contribute 13 points in the win.
Terrace picked up the victory despite seeing Khyree Armstead, who leads the team in overall scoring with 19 points per game, tally just nine on Monday – and none in the first half.
Sood wasn’t disturbed that the senior was held to single-digit scoring for the second game in a row (Armstead scored nine points in the Hawks’ 65-50 win over Meadowdale on Jan. 12).
“He rebounds, he defends, he handles the ball in the open court. He did those things today,” Sood noted about Armstead. “There’s a lot of ways that he can contribute and stand out in a basketball game like this besides just getting a lot of points.”
Considering the Hawks ended Clover Park’s 2016-2017 season with a 60-52 victory last February in the regional round of the 2A state tournament, Sood was fully expecting a motivated effort from the Warriors on Monday.
“We knew we were going to get their best shot,” Sood said. “They have a lot of guys back – four of five from last year – whether it was a revenge factor or that they feel like could do better, we weren’t going to get a team that was going to say, ‘Oh, let’s just go play.’”
But Sood noted that his team also was inspired in the rematch with the Warriors. “We had a good successful night against them last year; we wanted to back it up a little bit,” he said.
Terrace won’t have long to savor Monday’s win; the team is back on the court Tuesday, Jan. 16, for a Wesco League road matchup against the 1-13 Shorewood Thunderbirds. Tip-off at Shorewood High School is scheduled for 7:15 p.m.
Prep Boys Basketball: Mountlake Terrace vs. Clover Park, Jan. 15
Terrace 13 9 14 22 — 58
Clover Park 9 12 5 16 — 42
Mountlake Terrace scoring: Brendan Hayes 24, Connor Williams 13, Khyree Armstead 9, Mason Petersen 6, Mason Christianson 3, Max Hull 2, Keegan Grayson-Zehrung 1
Clover Park scoring: Davien Harris-Williams 17, Tre Shaw 6, Jonathan Sealey 6, James Anderson 4, Anthony Grassi 3, Tre McDaniel 3, Ranique Mosely 2, Stanley Green 1, Dardane Norman
Records: Mountlake Terrace 5-1 in 2A/3A Wesco League, 13-1 overall; Clover Park 5-3 in 2A South Puget Sound League, 7-7 overall
Mountlake Terrace next game: versus Shorewood, Tuesday, Jan. 16, 7:15 p.m. at Shorewood High School
–Story and photos by Doug Petrowski