In a back-and-forth contest against the Burlington-Edison Tigers on Saturday, Mountlake Terrace Hawks Coach Nalin Sood knew his squad just needed a short, dominating stretch of play in order to grab a victory.
Sood and Hawk fans had to wait until the final stages of the District 1/2 2A Boys Basketball Tournament 3rd/4th place game before the Terrace team put a run together that would lead to the win.
The Hawks outscored the Tigers 15-4 in the game’s final 3:33 and posted a 58-48 victory Saturday at Mount Vernon High School.
With the win, Terrace earned third place in the 12-team district tournament and will next prepare for the regional round of the WIAA 2A Boys State Basketball Tournament; eight regional playoff games will be played around the state Friday and Saturday, Feb. 23 and 24.
Terrace, the no. 1 seed in the District 1/2 2A tournament, didn’t have it easy in their match-up with the no. 11-seeded Tigers. The two teams traded the lead several times throughout their tilt with Burlington-Edison holding a one-point advantage, 44-43, with 3:46 to go in the game.
But the Hawks went on a 9-0 run over the next two minutes, a run that included 3-point buckets by Khyree Armstead and Brendan Hayes, and took the lead for good on their way to the win.
Early in the second half Sood could be overheard telling his Hawk squad during a timeout to keep playing together as a team and their run would come. When asked after the game if the timeout talk was just meant to be hopeful motivation, Sood insisted he was speaking with conviction.
“The body of work of these guys is why I believe that,” Sood said. “It’s not like all of a sudden we’re going to pull a rabbit out of a hat and hope that we can make it. We’ve done that all year.”
“We weren’t playing bad; it’s that they (Burlington-Edison) were doing a good job,” Sood continued. “But eventually, ‘stick with it guys and we’ll breakthrough.’”
The Terrace victory wasn’t just a result of a rush of team scoring in the final three-and-a-half minutes, but also of a defensive effort that held the Tigers to 10 points below their scoring average in a game.
Sood praised his squad for their work at the defensive end of the court. “To hold a team like that to 48 (points) in an emotionally-charged game like that, it’s a credit to the kids and their commitment to finding a way to get it done,” he said.
The Tigers scored only 20 points and shot just 29.1 percent (7-24) from the field in the second half.
Terrace was led in scoring by the 18 points – 16 in the second half – of Khyree Armstead. Brendan Hayes scored 14 points while Mason Christianson added 11 points.
Burlington-Edison’s Wyatt Walker tallied 16 points while Jackson Reisner scored 10 points in the loss.
Sood and his Hawk squad will have their attention on the soon-to-be-released bracket for the state regional games on Feb. 23 and 24. “Were in there, we’ll see where we’re going to be,” Sood concluded. “We’re going to go play another good team and hopefully this prepared us a little bit more to be ready for them.”
To view the District 1/2 2A Boys Basketball Tournament bracket, click www.wescoathletics.com/tournament.php?tournament_id=2329&sport=3.
To view the WIAA 2A Boys Regional Playoff & State Basketball Tournament bracket, click www.wescoathletics.com/tournament.php?tournament_id=2476&sport=3.
Prep Boys Basketball: Burlington-Edison vs. Mountlake Terrace, Feb. 17 (District 1/2 2A Boys Basketball Tournament 3rd/4th place game)
Burlington-Edison 12 16 9 11 — 48
Mountlake Terrace 10 17 12 19 — 58
Mountlake Terrace scoring: Khyree Armstead 18, Brendan Hayes 14, Mason Christianson 11, Mason Petersen 6, Akol Yel 4, Keegan Grayson-Zehrung 3, Max Hull 2
Burlington-Edison scoring: Wyatt Walker 16, Jackson Reisner 10, Caleb Sheldon 9, Brian McGovern 6, Mitchell Wesen 5, Brock Brewer 1, Josh Altenhofen 1, Michael Larson
Records: Mountlake Terrace 22-2 overall; Burlington-Edison 13-12 overall
–By Doug Petrowski