Even before the tip-off of their home opener on Thursday, Mountlake Terrace Hawks’ Coach Tyler Stracener could see a fatigue in the eyes of his players that told him it might be a tough night on the Mountlake Terrace High School basketball court.
“From the time that we started talking in the locker room, it was there,” Stracener said.
The first-year coach was right as his Lady Hawks stumbled throughout their non-league match-up with the Squalicum Storm, committing 29 turnovers and eventually losing to the visitors 56-19.
The Hawks were outscored 14-1 early in the game before Skylar Cristelli converted the team’s first shot from the field with 25 seconds to go in the first quarter.
Taking advantage of the Terrace miscues, Squalicum was able to start fast and then coast to their second victory of the young season.
The contest was the second in two nights for Terrace; the team has played the night before in Oak Harbor, a game that the Hawks not only loss in overtime but didn’t return to Mountlake Terrace from until about 11:45 p.m.
“That definitely kind of bit us today,” Stracener said.
Only four Hawks scored in the loss to the Storm: Cristelli, Jazz Zenk and Aynika Nuckles each tallied five points while Lydia Prelow contributed four points.
Terrace was without starter Nohea Morrison who had sprained her right MCL in the overtime period of the Oak Harbor game on Wednesday. The junior will be out at least a week recovering from the injury.
Morrison’s absence was a factor in Thursday’s loss to the Storm, said Stracener. “She has a unique impact on a basketball game,” he said of Morrison. “She can really stretch out the floor. Last night she hit a deep three to put us into overtime – and not having that, that’s just taking another big piece off the board.”
“Being able to have her out there, knocking down those three’s, getting to the rim, seeing the floor – she could have made a big impact tonight,” Stracener added.
Squalicum was led to victory by the 20 points of senior Chalae Wolters; sophomore Leah Austin added 10 points for the Storm.
Stracener did find a positive in his Hawks’ effort after playing two games in consecutive nights. “Honestly, just coming out in the second half and not just rolling over – they did go out there and they did fight the rest of the game. And at that point that’s what a coach wants to see. Them going out there, proving that they’re willing to put up that type of fight, that they’re not going to just give up gives hope for what’s coming next,” he stated.
Prep Girls Basketball: Squalicum at Mountlake Terrace, Nov. 30
Squalicum 17 7 19 13 — 56
Terrace 3 6 5 5 — 19
Mountlake Terrace scoring: Jazz Zenk 5, Aynika Nuckles 5, Skylar Cristelli 5, Lydia Prelow 4, Trinity Prout, Kierra Scott, Michaela Olivierre
Squalicum scoring: Chalae Wolters 20, Leah Austin 10, Mariana Madera 8, Grace Schroder 8, Josie Andert 4, Mady Blackwell 3, Deja Henry 3, Des’ree Henry, Jadyn Hawkinson
Records: Mountlake Terrace 0-0 in 2A/3A Wesco League, 0-2 overall; Squalicum 0-0 in 1A/2A/3A Northwest Conference, 2-0 overall
Mountlake Terrace next game: versus Lynnwood, Saturday, Dec. 2, 7 p.m. at Lynnwood High School
–By Doug Petrowski