A good basketball team, a supportive athletic department and great fans – all components that brought an invitation to the Mountlake Terrace Hawks to take part in the King Showcase, an all-day marathon of prep basketball, on Martin Luther King Day Monday. The MTHS boys basketball team will take on the Fairfax High School Lions of Los Angeles at 2:30 p.m. in the fourth game of the day at the ShoWare Center in Kent.
The event brings together 14 boys and girls basketball teams from three states for games starting at 10 a.m. While the 7,300-seat venue is the home of the Seattle Thunderbirds hockey team, and hosts a wide variety of sports and entertainment programs, high school basketball will be the focus on Monday.
So how did the Hawks get an invite to such an event? “Here is how that happens: You’ve got to have a good basketball team. And if you have a good basketball team, people notice,” answered Terrace Head Coach Nalin Sood.
The King Showcase is a production of Game Time Events, a marketing and events company headed by Steve Turcotte. The company produces numerous sports events and tournaments each year in the area.
“Steve Turcotte saw our kids down at the state tournament (last year). He knew we had some good kids coming back. He knows how Mountlake Terrace High School does things,” Sood said. “Everything we do here is first class. Why wouldn’t you want Mountlake Terrace High School to be a part of anything you do.”
But having a good basketball team and a premiere athletic program isn’t enough. “You’ve got to have a good student body, and the culture of the school has to be that they would want to bring you down,” Sood continued.
Being able to bring supporters to a prep basketball event is a factor for promoters. MTHS Athletic Director Kim Stewart said the selection process of inviting teams to an event like the King Showcase is similar to what college bowl committees do. “It’s like a bowl game,” Stewart said. “The bowl committee’s going to find a team that travels well.”
Mountlake Terrace didn’t have a say in whom they would be playing at the event, and that’s OK with Coach Sood. In both the upcoming King Showcase and the Les Schwab Preview in December, when Terrace took on Lincoln at Highline Community College match-ups were set by Game Time Events. “We were going to play both the Lincoln and Fairfax games against different teams. Other teams didn’t want to play them,” Sood explained. “We were going to play Benson Tech and we were going to play Mount Rainier, then some other things got shifted around.”
Playing Lincoln, currently the top-ranked 3A boys team in the state, last December and now perennial power Fairfax has been a step up in competition for the Hawks, but Sood welcomes the challenge. “We’ll take on anybody, anywhere, anytime,” he said.
The Fairfax Lions will be bringing a tourney-tested squad to the King Showcase on Monday as the team has already competed in four tournaments this season in southern California, Las Vegas and Abbottsford, BC. Their 12-7 record doesn’t necessarily reflect the size, speed and talent on the team. “They could match up against the (UW) Huskies,” said Sood, only partly in jest. Standouts on the squad are 5-10 senior guard Jonathan Brown and 6-5 senior postman Chauncey Hill.
Sood is looking forward to the match-up with the Lions. “We’re going at it full barrel ahead,” he said. “We’re going to go out there to see what we can do.
“We’ve got some things we’d like to work on against that type of team, a team that’s athletic, that’s quick, that’s long; because if we are going to be any good we could see a team similar to them down the road somewhere,” Sood added.
In addition to the seven prep games, the King Showcase will also feature a Martin Luther King Jr. Tribute scheduled to take place at approximately 5:30 p.m. Admission prices range from $5-$10 for the all-day event. The ShoWare Center is located at 625 W. James St. in Kent.
The MTHS-Fairfax matchup will be broadcast live on the Hawks Live Sports Network on MLTnews.com, with pre-game beginning at 2:20 p.m.
King Showcase at ShoWare Center schedule, Jan. 21, 2013
10 a.m. GIRLS Kentwood vs. Jackson
11:30 a.m. BOYS Foss vs. Columbia River
1 p.m. GIRLS Mount Rainier vs. Oregon City (Oregon)
2:30 p.m. BOYS Mountlake Terrace vs. Fairfax (California)
4 p.m. BOYS Kennedy vs. Benson (Oregon)
5:30 p.m. Martin Luther King Jr. Tribute
6 p.m. BOYS Decatur vs. Federal Way
7:30 p.m. BOYS Kent-Meridian vs. Kentridge