By Doug Petrowski
With no one on the roster taller than 6-2, Cedar Park Christian – MLT knew going into its second-round 1B Tri-District Tournament game the team would have some match-up problems against the taller Shorewood Christian squad. Coach Pat Russell’s original defensive plans weren’t working early on, so a slight change in strategy pushed the Lions to a big second quarter, and ultimately a 73-67 win Tuesday night in Mountlake Terrace.
Cedar Park outscored Shorewood Christian 22-9 in a second quarter that included a stretch of almost five minutes when the visitors were held scoreless.
Shorewood Christian’s front line included 6-6 senior Kyle Howell and 6-3 junior Jordan King, two that the Lions tried to slow down with weak side defenders moving across the key to help double team the strong side low post. “We had to change up who we helped with,” said Russell. “We were trying to help from the backside. Finally we had to clamp down from the top. They missed some shots and we were able to get some key turnovers there, and we hit some shots.”
The defensive change helped the Lions sprint to a 41-31 halftime lead, a margin almost wiped away in the first 1:40 of the second half when Shoreline Christian climbed back to within one point, 44-43. Russell talked to his team after the game about that opening stretch of the third quarter; “I told my guys that I possibly should have taken a timeout,” he explained. “I chose not to because, with our seniors and juniors, I wanted them to work through it.”
“At the same time, if they had hit one more shot I would have definitely called a timeout,” Russell added.
The Lions held on to the lead throughout the third, building it to six points thanks to a buzzer-beater three-point jumper from 22-feet by senior Micah Patterson.
King led Shoreline Christian in scoring with 30 points, while the Lions defense was more effective on Howell, limiting him to only nine points. Cedar Park was led by the 26 points of Terry Eun; Patterson added 15 points for the Lions.
Cedar Park was again without starting forward Eric Matson, who suffered a hairline fracture of his left ankle on Feb. 3. Although he may be available if the team qualifies for the state tournament Feb. 28-March 2, Russell is cautious about his return to game play. “My job is to keep kids safe so they can play with their kids when they’re older. He wants to try to rush it, but we should have enough depth,” Russell said.
Cedar Park, 21-3 and ranked seventh in the AP 1B state boys basketball poll, will next face Tulalip Heritage (18-5) on Thursday night in third round Tri-District action. Tulalip Heritage upset number 5-ranked Christian Faith 71-63 Tuesday night to move on in the tournament’s winners’ bracket.
Cedar Park Chr. – MLT quarter scoring: 19 – 22 – 19 – 13 – 73
Shorewood Christian quarter scoring: 22 – 9 – 23 – 13 – 67
Cedar Park Chr. – MLT individual scoring: Terry Eun 26; Micah Patterson 15; Wilson Reidt 9; Ben Reidy 8; Austin Schley 8; Daniel Schettler 7; Christian Guddal; Zach Wallace
Shorewood Christian individual scoring: Jordan King 30; Micah Lorenz 11; Kyle Howell 9; Stan Domingo 9; Kyle Brotherton 8; Garrett Boyd; Darren Morris