With new scoreboards, a partially redone floor and completely new bleachers, the Mountlake Terrace High School Terraceum has taken on a new look for this year’s upcoming boys basketball season. But one thing that has not changed is the man in charge — head coach Nalin Sood.
Sood is in his 22nd year leading the school’s boys basketball program. And while he believes that players’ skill sets have changed over the years, basketball and coaching fundamentals have not. “Kids just want to be coached,” he said.
As the Hawks enter the 2021-22 season with their first home game this Friday, Dec. 10, Sood says that one player who loves to be coached is senior guard Jeffery Anyimah. A four-year member of the Hawk varsity team, Anyimah is someone that Sood appreciates coaching every day. “There is nobody that’s played with him that’s ever said he wasn’t a great teammate,” Sood said.
The five other seniors on the Terrace team – Tigran Mkrtychan, Vito Mkrtychyan, Emmanuel Jorga, Adison Mattix and Mason Towne — have also stepped up early in practices, Sood said, although he expects that of his varsity veterans. “The guys that are leaders, are natural leaders, he said.
Sood isn’t worried about the team’s wins and losses this year or how far they make a run into the playoffs. “If that’s the measurement of a goal, then I’m missing something here,” the coach said. Sood chooses to focus on the progress of the team and the season, instead of the scoreboard. “It will be a scoreboard thing when it’s win or go home,” Sood said. Ultimately, he wants this team to be the best team it can be.
Sood said it’s tough to compare this year’s squad to the rest of the Wesco league’s teams, since the Hawks haven’t had a full season in two years. He recalled the challenges of last year’s COVID-shortened, 10-game season. “Just the emotion of seeing them warm up that first day when we didn’t know if we would have any season. I wouldn’t trade that for anything,” he said.
Due to COVID, the Hawks team didn’t have a chance to play summer ball, which meant losing valuable playing time for the team’s six seniors, three sophomores and one junior. “The restrictions limited what we could do, we were down to just individual workouts,” Sood said. As a result, it’s taken the team more time to learn the offensive and defensive strategies. But Sood sees an upside to the inexperience: It allows the team to be more coachable and flexible.
The Hawks opened their season away vs. Kamiak Wednesday night, earning a tough 77-71 overtime win. Anyimah led the way for Terrace with 20 points and tough defense. Sophomore Zaveon Jones also pitched in 13 points. The first home game will be Friday, Dec. 10 versus Arlington, with a 7:15 p.m. start at Mountlake Terrace High School. You can catch the game live on the HawkTVHBN YouTube page.
— Story and photos by Benjamin Eyman
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