After almost two weeks of the Mountlake Terrace High School boys basketball team not seeing any game action, the question was whether they would be ready to hit the courts on Friday night and put together a winning effort. That question didn’t get answered until the final four minutes of their opening game of the Mountlake Terrace Holiday Tournament, when the Hawks finally looked sharp and pulled away for a 65-56 victory over the Foster Bulldogs.
Down 53-52, Mountlake Terrace outscored Foster 12-4 in the final 4:13 and escaped with a win at Mountlake Terrace High School.
Terrace last played on Dec. 14, and the gap between games was a concern for Coach Nalin Sood. “Every coach would be concerned about the layoff. Thirteen days off, that’s a long time,” Sood said.
Foster came out of the gate with much more energy and hustle than the Hawks, playing a pesky zone defense, counter-punching with a lightning-quick fast break, and building a 12-4 lead in the first four and a half minutes. Terrace fought back with a 12-3 run late in the opening quarter, but the Bulldogs held strong and led at the end of the first, 20-16.
Foster added to their lead in the second quarter, taking a 36-29 lead into the locker room at halftime.
“They were the aggressors, and they sat in their zone, and we weren’t aggressive against the zone,” Sood stated. “Foster, they’ve got some good little guards and they caused some problems. We’ve got to get better.”
“We’ve got to get better with our mental approach,” Sood continued. “I don’t like the fact that we gave up 36 points in that first half; that just comes down to focus and our defensive toughness. Second half we gave up 20, which is a lot better.”
While the Hawk defense struggled, especially in the first half, the offense wasn’t running at top gear either. Terrace’s big two, Greg Bowman and Loren Lacasse, missed all of their first half three-point attempts, indicative of the overall shooting performance of the team.
“One thing is I thought we got good shots; we just weren’t making shots,” Sood observed. “And I’m not all of a sudden going to tell kids don’t shoot those. Sometimes they go in, sometimes they don’t, you know. I don’t want kids, in the back of their mind, wondering should they shoot or shouldn’t they shoot. “
The team wasn’t helped by the disciplinary action Sood took against Bowman, keeping him out of the starting lineup for the first time this season. Sood wouldn’t share the specifics of why he benched his senior co-captain at the opening tipoff – “There was just a little blip in Greg, just a little blip, nothing major,” he said. “Greg will be back in the starting lineup tomorrow and I hope for the rest of his high school career here.”
Bowman tallied only six points in the first half, but led the Hawks’ fourth quarter resurgence by scoring ten in the final period. His total of 19 points led the team in scoring; Lacasse contributed 14 points and Gabe Altenberger added 12 points.
Foster was led by Ronnie Roberson and Max Montoya, each scoring 11 points.
The Hawks play in the closing game of the two-day tourney on Saturday in a 7 p.m. match-up with Snohomish; the Panthers beat Mark Morris 70-46 earlier in the day on Friday.
MTHS Boys Basketball vs. Foster, Dec. 27
Foster 20 16 6 14 — 56
Terrace 16 13 16 20 — 65
MTHS individual scoring: Greg Bowman 19; Loren Lacasse 14; Gabe Altenberger 12; Matthew Moisant 8; Yoel Tekle 5; Isaiah Green 4; Yonnas Tewolde 3
Foster individual scoring: Ronnie Roberson 11; Max Montoya 11; Cory Covarrubia 10; Rashad Sang 8; Ben Mitchell 7; Sam Woldemariam 6; Patrick Straight 2; Connor Forsyth 1
Records: Mountlake Terrace 5-1 overall; Foster 1-5 overall
MTHS next game: versus Snohomish, Saturday, Dec. 28, 7 p.m., at Mountlake Terrace High School (final game of the MTHS Holiday Tournament)
— Story and photo by Doug Petrowski