Prep boys basketball: Hawks advance to state quarterfinals with win over Rams

Hawks sophomore Svayjeet Singh (51) ducks under Rams senior Thad TenKley (0) during the Mountlake Terrace Hawks-North Thurston Rams Elite Eight State Championship game at the Tacoma Dome on Wednesday. (Photos by Michael Bury)

The first day of state basketball tourney matchups at the Tacoma Dome is the most cruel, as game losers have to pack up their belongings, head to their buses and travel home, missing out on any additional tourney action.

The Mountlake Terrace Hawks were determined not to let that happen to them.

With some stingy defense and a balanced offensive attack, the Hawks staved off elimination from this year’s WIAA 3A Boys State Basketball Tournament and defeated the North Thurston Rams 58-53 on Wednesday.

Terrace, the No.6 seed in the tourney, will now challenge the No. 5-seeded O’Dea Fighting Irish Thursday, March 2, in a non-elimination Tacoma Dome game set to tip off at 3:45 p.m.

Wednesday’s win over the No. 14-seeded Rams was no easy ride for the Hawks. The two teams battled throughout the game, trading the lead eight times in the second quarter alone before Terrace grabbed a 29-25 advantage at halftime. 

Jaxon Dubiel (11) makes a layup over the Rams’ Thad TenKley (0) and Ray Adams (10).

The Hawks never gave up that lead in the second half, but also led by no more than seven points. And the Hawks didn’t secure the victory until Jaxon Dubiel converted two free-throw attempts with 32.6 seconds remaining to cement the final score.

Dubiel’s true stroke from the foul line in the game’s last minute was indicative of the kind of shooting performance the Hawks’ put together overall on Wednesday. Terrace shot 50% (21 out of 42) from the field but even better from beyond the three-point arc: 11-of-16 (68.8%).

Zaveon Jones (41) looks to post high over the Rams’ Thad TenKley (0).

North Thurston, bothered by a pesky Hawk defense, could only muster a shooting percentage of 32.7% (17-of-52) from the field and 35% (7-of-11) from three-point land.

The 12-point differential in 3-point shooting (Terrace made 11 for 33 points, North Thurston seven for 21 points) helped offset a big Rams advantage from the foul line, where North Thurston sank 12 of 15 attempts while the Hawks made five of six opportunities.

Chris Meegan (11) flies in to score among a flat-footed Rams defense.

Terrace was led in scoring by Chris Meegan with 15 points. The senior is making his second trip to the state tourney at the Dome after he was part of last year’s Hawk squad that brought home the 3A boys sixth-place trophy.

“I love this building,” Meegan said after Wednesday’s win. “I was telling the guys I can feel the gravitational pull from the Tacoma Dome pulling me into the door. Today, it just felt good. Hopefully it feels good the next couple days and we can put a state championship trophy in the closet.”

Meegan scored 11 of his 15 points in the first half when both squads struggled to get up to full speed (the Hawks and Rams were tied 9-9 after the first quarter). “I knew the team needed me; we were all a little slow,” he said. “So I just came out, just played basketball how I know I can and I should.”

Hawks sophomore Rayshaun Connor (31) splits defenders and heads toward the basket.

Dubiel and Terrace teammate Rayshaun Connor each contributed 12 points in the Hawk victory. Connor came off the bench and hit four of five shot attempts from beyond the 3e-point arc for his dozen points.

North Thurston’s Thad TenKley scored 25 points to lead all scorers in the game, but the big 6-foot-6 senior was held to just nine points in the decisive second half.

With the win on Wednesday, Terrace can now plan on being in Tacoma through Friday — a victory on either Thursday or Friday will extend their stay to Saturday for the final day of the state tournament. Meegan is excited about getting to see more court time at the Dome.

“This (Wednesday’s game) was the win-or-go-home,” he concluded. “We’ve got two days guaranteed — it’s never a bad problem to run out of clothes.”

Logan Tews (21) ducks past North Thurston’ Micah Gentry (2).

To view the entire WIAA 3A Boys State Basketball Tournament bracket, click

Prep Boys Basketball: North Thurston vs. Mountlake Terrace, Mar. 1 (WIAA 3A Boys State Basketball Tournament round-of-12 loser-out game)

North Thurston   9 16 17 11 53

Mountlake Terrace   9 20 16 13 58

Mountlake Terrace scoring: Chris Meegan 15, Jaxon Dubiel 12, Rayshaun Connor 12, Svayjeet Singh 9, Zaveon Jones 7, Logan Tews 3, Talan Zenk, Andrew Delgadillo

North Thurston scoring: Thad TenKley 25, Jackson Lusk 10, Ray Adams 7, Micah Anderson 6, Ahren Bee-richards 3, Ahmari Steplight 2, Micah Gentry, Karmel Delacruz, Julian Lee, Justus Walker

Records: Mountlake Terrace 19-6 overall; North Thurston 18-9 overallMountlake Terrace next game: versus O’Dea; Thursday, March 2; 3:45 p.m. at the Tacoma Dome (WIAA 3A Boys State Basketball Tournament quarterfinal game)

— By Doug Petrowski

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Real first and last names — as well as city of residence — are required for all commenters.
This is so we can verify your identity before approving your comment.

By commenting here you agree to abide by our Code of Conduct. Please read our code at the bottom of this page before commenting.