In a battle of 2A/3A Wesco League unbeatens on Friday, it was the Stanwood Spartans that emerged with their perfect league record intact, much to the disappointment of the Mountlake Terrace Hawks.
After building up as much as a 12-point lead late in the third quarter, the Spartans held off the hard-charging Hawks in the fourth and walked away from Mountlake Terrace High School with a 53-51 victory.
The win gave the Spartans a 5-0 record in the 2A/3A Wesco League and first place in the current league standings; Terrace fell to 3-1 in Wesco League play.
Stanwood led 40-28 with 2:46 to go in the third quarter on Friday, but Terrace chipped away at that advantage, closing to within a single point at 48-47 near the midway point of the fourth quarter. But that was as close as the Hawks would get as the team scored just four points in the final 4:18, not enough to wrestle the lead away from the Spartans.
“They’re disappointed,” Terrace coach Nalin Sood said of his squad after the contest. “Sum it up like that, we’re all disappointed.”
Neither team could muster up much offense during the game’s final stretch. The Spartans broke a three-minute, 16-second scoring drought by both teams when Darren Smith threw up a wild one-hander while being fouled with 1:03 to go that found the backboard and then dropped through the hoop; Smith sunk the bonus free throw for an unlikely three-point play, giving Stanwood a 51-47 lead.
Terrace answered with a Jace Breakfield inside bucket with 37.1 seconds to go, but the Spartans would get their four-point lead back with 34.6 seconds to go on a pair of Cort Roberson free throws.
The Hawks’ Mason Christianson converted a couple free throws of his own with 21.2 seconds to go to make the score 53-51. Terrace had a chance for the win in the final seconds, but a three-point attempt by Trazz Pepper was off the mark. Jace Breakfield was fouled while gathering in the offensive rebound, but his two free throw attempts — that would have tied the game if converted — also missed and the Spartans claimed the victory.
Sood stressed that Pepper’s missed three-point shot attempt at the end of the game wasn’t the reason for the Hawks’ loss to the Spartans. “It doesn’t come down to one shot by any means,” he said. “One shot maybe doesn’t bring up some of the things we need to get better.”
“We didn’t play consistent tonight,” Sood explained. “We just were not as consistent with our aggressiveness, with our execution, but that’s what they (the Spartans) do to people. You’ve got to give them credit; that’s what they do, that’s why they have the record they do.”
The Spartans utilized a suffocating half-court zone trap to disrupt Terrace’s offense throughout much of the game. Sood admitted the defense was effective against his squad.
“They can really break people’s will from what they do from mid-court to about the three-point line with getting their hands on basketballs,” Sood said. “And then they get a lot of free points because they get lay-ins the other way (and) where their shooters can get open.”
Stanwood coach Zach Ward said after the game that the team’s trap zone is called upon for a few reasons, although is usually used sporadically during a game. But on Friday, the defensive scheme was working so well against Terrace that it got used much more than he had planned.
“It’s a way for us to get energy,” Ward said. “We have a batch of certain kids who really like to play that way and sometimes when we’re struggling defensively we’ll do that to try to get energy. And they get excited and it forces them to play fast. We just stayed in it a little longer tonight than we usually do because we had the success.”
Stanwood’s defensive effort was especially effective in the first half when the Hawks had seven turnovers and scored just six points in the first quarter and only 18 for the half.
Terrace was led in scoring by the 15 points of Breakfield — 11 of which came after halftime — and the 11 points of Robbie Baringer, with eight of those scored in the second half. Mason Christianson added 10 points for the Hawks.
Stanwood’s Jake Cleary led all scorers in the game with 18 points; Cort Roberson contributed 16 points in the Spartan win.
While pleased that his Spartan team got the victory over a good Terrace squad on Friday, Ward was jubilant that it came in the hostile environment of the Terracium, the nickname for the Terrace gymnasium.
“It’s hard to come in this building and win; not many teams do it,” Ward noted.
In other Terrace sports on Friday, the Hawks’ girls basketball team also fell to the Stanwood Spartans, 55-31, in a game played at Stanwood High School.
Prep Boys Basketball: Stanwood at Mountlake Terrace, Jan. 10
Stanwood 14 11 17 11 — 53
Terrace 6 12 17 16 — 51
Mountlake Terrace individual scoring: Jace Breakfield 15, Robbie Baringer 11, Mason Christianson 10, Jeffrey Anyimah 6, Muhammed Kinteh 4, Trazz Pepper 3, Bradey Blackmer 2, Tigran Mkrtychyan
Stanwood individual scoring: Jake Cleary 18, Cort Roberson 16, Kaeden McGlothin 9, Darren Smith 5, Cam Everett 3, Dom Angelshaug 2, Jack Oldow, Connor Schlepp, Mack Hepper
Records: Mountlake Terrace 3-1 in 2A/3A Wesco League, 7-2 overall; Stanwood 5-0 in 2A/3A Wesco League, 9-2 overall
Mountlake Terrace next game: versus Marysville-Pilchuck; Monday, Jan. 13; 7:15 p.m. at Marysville-Pilchuck High School
Prep Girls Basketball: Mountlake Terrace at Stanwood, Jan. 10
Terrace 8 11 4 8 — 31
Stanwood 15 20 11 9 — 55
Mountlake Terrace individual scoring: Lindsey Ho 9, Cameron Dunn 9, Kaiya Beavin 6, Elise Colvin 4, Kierra Scott 2, Berit Simonsen 1, Michaela Ollivierre, Bailey Sonko, Ainsley Ward, Malie Armstrong, Ainslee Beach, Amber Stradling
Stanwood individual scoring: Shelby Lund 14, Viv Berrett 12, Paige Almanza 7, Madison Plautz 6, Grace Walker 5, Chloe Santeford 4, Ava Cook 3, Madeline Larson 2, Gabriella Green 2, Tatum Brager
Records: Mountlake Terrace 0-4 in 2A/3A Wesco League, 2-8 overall; Stanwood 2-3 in 2A/3A Wesco League, 4-6 overall
Mountlake Terrace next game: versus Marysville-Pilchuck; Tuesday, Jan. 14; 7:15 p.m. at Mountlake Terrace High School
— By Doug Petrowski