Story and photo by Doug Petrowski
The Cedar Park Christian – MLT Lions got off on the right foot in district play Saturday night, but it’s the condition of the left foot, or more precisely the left ankle, of junior Eric Matson that the team may be more concerned with.
The Lions easily ran away from the Lopez Lobos, 69-24, at Cedar Park Christian School in the opening game of the 1B Northwest District Boys Basketball Tournament.
Matson, a 6-2 forward for the Lions, got tangled up with a Lopez defender late in the second quarter and had to be assisted from the floor by teammates. He spent the remainder of the game on the bench with an ice pack wrapped around his left ankle. The extent of Matson’s injury was not immediately known.
Lion Head Coach Pat Russell was pleased with his team’s effort in the first game of the postseason. “Other than losing Eric, one of my starters, this is definitely a good start,” he said.
The Lions, known more for their run-and-gun offense, were faced with overcoming a Lobo team wanting to slow down the game pace. “They played physical; they’re a physical team,” Russell concluded. “They’re scrappy, which we knew. We matched them this time, which is good.”
The physical work of his players was not lost on Russell, as he praised his team for their effort in going after loose balls on the floor.
“Part of that is just preaching to the kids that we’ve got to be the most intense team out there,” he said. “But I was impressed.”
Lopez tried to stay close in the first quarter, but a 12-1 run by the Lions to close out the period stretched their early lead to 12. The Lions outscored the Lobos 25-12 in the second quarter and then held the visitors to only four-second half points to pick up the victory.
Cedar Park Christian – MLT had four scorers in double figures, led by the 15 points of senior Micah Patterson. Junior Ben Reidy, picking up one of his first starts of the season, scored 14 points. Senior Terry Eun scored 12 points, while senior Daniel Schettler added 10.
The Lions (19-2) play their second-round district game on Wednesday, Feb. 6, at Mount Vernon Christian School against Tulalip Heritage (15-4). Tipoff is set for 6:30 p.m. “If we win Wednesday we have a bye in Tri-Districts and we host, so Wednesday is a big game for us. Otherwise we have to turn right around and play Thursday,” Russell explained.
Lopez (5-13) plays Shoreline Christian (1-19) in a district loser-out game on Tuesday, Feb. 5.
Cedar Park Chr. – MLT quarter scoring: 20 – 25 – 13 – 11 – 69
Lopez quarter scoring: 8 – 12 – 4 – 0 – 24
Cedar Park Chr. individual scoring: Micah Patterson 15; Ben Reidy 14; Terry Eun 12; Daniel Schettler 10; Eric Matson 7; Wilson Reidt 6; Daniel Walker 3; Andrew Paulson 2; Austin Schley; Aaron Gillis; Christian Guddal; Zach Wallace
Lopez individual scoring: Chris Henninger 7; Chase Schober 6; Risto Turunen 5; Rande Gruenwald 2; Solomon Bill 1; Derekk Buffum 1; Erik Johansen; Fletcher Moore; Joe O’Bryant; Jaise Poole; Andrew Zeorb