Motivated by a big home crowd on Senior Night, the Mountlake Terrace Hawks played some of their most inspiring basketball of the season on Friday, but found that inspiration can only go so far.
The Hawks succumbed to the Snohomish Panthers 50-35 in a 2A/3A Wesco League tilt played at Mountlake Terrace High School.
Terrace stayed closed to the Panthers early on, even knotting up the score at 11-11 at the 6:11 mark of the second quarter. But Snohomish outscored the Hawks 20-4 over the remainder of the quarter to take a 31-15 lead at halftime.
Terrace played without Aynika Nuckles during much of the fateful second quarter after the junior fell hard on a rebound attempt and had to be escorted to the sidelines. Her absence was crucial in allowing Snohomish’s big run, said Terrace Coach Jesica Anissipour.
“Aynika is the heart of our defense,” Anissipour said. “She’s pretty important in the center. Not having her just for that lapse of time that she was out injured, that really didn’t help us.”
Nuckles was able to return to action after getting her left ankle wrapped, but not before Snohomish had built up a double digit lead over the Hawks.
Terrace was also hurt on the front line by the absence of junior Jazz Zenk who missed the game due to a college visitation trip to Washington D.C.
The Hawks did make a late fourth quarter run at the Panthers, cutting the double digit lead down to eight points, 42-34, with 2:59 to go on a Nohea Morrison three-pointer. But Snohomish answered with a three-pointer of their own 25 seconds later by Katie Brandvold, then made five of eight free throw attempts down the final stretch to end any hopes that the Hawks could complete the potential comeback.
Terrace was led in scoring by their two seniors, Jorie Lambert and Weslynn Blackwell – who, in addition to team manager Matt Guardiano, were honored in a halftime ceremony. Lambert scored 11 points in the game while Blackwell contributed 10 points.
Annissipour like what she saw from her two seniors in their last game ever on their home court. “Wes brought some collection to her game tonight,” Annissipour said. “She’s been kind of sloppy the last couple of games with turnovers, and she really improved that aspect of her game.”
“Jorie had some great post moves tonight, and they paid off,” she added.
The Panthers (9-2 in 2A/3A Wesco League, 14-5 overall) had no players that reached double figures in scoring and instead offered a balanced effort by the whole squad. Sophomore Kyra Beckman led the team with nine points; the bench players, led by the eight points of Maya DuChesne, collectively scored 33 of the Panthers 50 points in the contest.
With the loss, Terrace fell to 2-9 in 2A/3A Wesco League competition, 3-16 overall, going into their regular season finale Monday, Feb. 6, at Marysville-Getchell. But despite their less-than-stellar records, the Hawks are still on track to qualify for the 12-team District 1/2 2A Girls Basketball Tournament that begins on Feb. 8. Determinations as to who is in the district tourney won’t be finalized until after all regular season games are played on Monday.
Annissipour wasn’t ready to pronounce yet on Friday night that her squad had already clinched a spot in the district tourney. “I’ll just wait for the e-mail (from tournament officials) that says we’re in,” she stated.
“Let’s just take it game-by-game and go out and do the best we can; and that’s all we can do,” Annissipour concluded.
In other MTHS hoops action on Friday, the Hawks boys team earned a road victory over Snohomish 48-36 at Snohomish High School. The Hawks will close out their regular season at home on Monday, Feb. 6, against the Marysville-Getchell Chargers.
Prep Girls Basketball: Snohomish at Mountlake Terrace, Feb. 3
Snohomish 11 20 9 10 — 50
Terrace 9 8 9 11 — 35
Mountlake Terrace individual scoring: Jorie Lambert 11, Weslynn Blackwell 10, Nohea Morrison 6, Aynika Nuckles 4, Trinity Prout 2, Kierra Scott 2, Eliza Sandoval, Samra Gebrehiwot
Snohomish individual scoring: Kyra Beckman 9, Maya DuChesne 8, Kinslee Gallatin 5, Lexi Sunagel 5, Katie Brandvold 4, Courtney Perry 4, Sam Beeman 4, Morgan Marshall 4, Emily Preach 3, Quinn Otteson 2, Cassidy McGee 2, Madi VanSligtenhorst
Records: Mountlake Terrace 2-9 in 2A/3A Wesco League, 3-15 overall; Snohomish 9-2 in 2A/3A Wesco League, 14-5 overall
Mountlake Terrace next game: versus Marysville-Pilchuck, Monday, Feb. 6, 7:15 p.m. at Marysville-Pilchuck High School
Prep Boys Basketball: Mountlake Terrace at Snohomish, Feb. 3
Mountlake Terrace 48 – Snohomish 36
Records: Mountlake Terrace 8-3 in 2A/3A Wesco League, 10-9 overall; Snohomish 2-9 in 2A/3A Wesco League, 4-15 overall
Mountlake Terrace next game: versus Marysville-Pilchuck, Monday, Feb. 6, 7:15 p.m. at Mountlake Terrace High School
–By Doug Petrowski