By Doug Petrowski
With a game on the line, the Mountlake Terrace boys basketball team has a number of players it can call on to take a final shot and grab a win. In a loser-out tournament match-up at the Tacoma Dome on Friday, the Hawks called on Marquis Armstead; the senior guard delivered, hitting a driving lay-in while being fouled with 5.8 seconds left in the game. Armstead made the ensuing free throw, completing the three-point play, and giving Terrace a 59-56 victory in its second game of the WIAA 3A Boys Basketball Championship.
The Hawks will play Seattle Prep for fourth place in the tournament Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m. The game will be broadcast live on the Hawks Live Sports Network on MLTnews.com with pre-game beginning at 9:15 a.m.
For Armstead to take that final shot for the Hawks was the team’s plan. “We put the ball in Marquis’ hands because we were going to trust that he was going to go to the basket,” said Coach Nalin Sood. “What a nice way for him to end the basketball game that he got to the basket and finished on a real good power move.”
University (Spokane) did get one last prayer at the buzzer in an attempt to tie the game and send it to overtime, but Brett Bailey’s 35-foot heave was off the mark. Bailey led the Titans with 28 points and a shooting touch that was unstoppable at times. Even his last-second attempt for the tie caused a few hearts to skip a beat. “When he got it, he had that follow through like, yup, it’s going in,” said Terrace’s Blake Fernandez. “It looked good from where I was standing, so I got kind of scared, but it bounced off.”
Coach Sood even commented on Bailey’s final attempt: “That kid, anytime he launches the basketball you wonder what’s going to happen with it.”
Bailey scorched the Hawks for 14 points in the first quarter, an effort that led to Terrace making a change on how to defend University’s top scorer. Armstead gave way in the defensive assignment, letting Fernandez take over beginning in the second quarter.
“You got to tip your hat to Blake Fernandez. In a very, very unselfish way he just wanted to go stop him and be a great defender, and he did, I think,” Sood said. “He (Bailey) had 14 (points) at the end of the first quarter, then 14 the next three quarters. Blake and Greg Bowman did a good job tag-teaming, primarily with Blake.”
Due mostly to Bailey’s early performance, University raced to an 18-11 lead after the first quarter. The Titans built that lead primarily off an 18-2 run. But the Hawks answered with a 14-0 run of their own during the second quarter, giving them the lead 29-26 at the half. University hung close to the Hawks throughout the second half, even tying the game twice, but was never able to pull ahead.
The Hawks were led by the 18 points of Loren Lacasse, most of his points gained from hard work under the boards and in the paint. “He’s struggled shooting the past couple of games, but we’re still going to have him keep shooting it,” Sood stated. “He’s a junior; he just needs to get more experience and keep playing. Tonight, obviously the biggest game of the year, Loren came through and that’s just the determination of the kid and not giving up. He did a great job tonight.”
Bowman tallied 13 points for Terrace, with Armstead and Fernandez each adding 12 points.
Mountlake Terrace quarter scoring: 11 – 18 – 14 – 16 – 59
University quarter scoring: 18 – 8 – 14 – 16 – 56
Mountlake Terrace individual scoring: Loren Lacasse 18; Greg Bowman 13; Marquis Armstead 12; Blake Fernandez 12; Michael Lotz 3; Jesse Zerom 1; LeTrae Sarden; Yohans Tewolde
University individual scoring: Brett Bailey 28; DaShaun Boswell 13; Ben Kuiper 9; Michael Isotalo 6; Joseph Carrieres; Austin Flynn; Caleb Gilbert; Garrett Schmerer; Conor Linehan; Khalil Williams; Andrew Morgan