While a basketball hoop is 18 inches in diameter, the rims at Mount Vernon High School must have seemed small for the Mountlake Terrace Hawks on Saturday.
The Hawks struggled from the field and were held to their second-lowest scoring output of the season as they fell short to the Anacortes Seahawks 48-38 in the District 1/2 2A Boys Basketball Tournament championship game.
With the loss, Terrace finished second in the district tourney, good enough to send them on to the regional round of the WIAA 2A State Boys Basketball Tournament on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 24 and 25.
Even though Saturday’s district title game had no bearing on the schedule for the upcoming regional round games, the Hawks had looked to the match-up with the Seahawks as if it did.
“We were ready,” Coach Nalin Sood proclaimed following the loss to Anacortes. “The kids had a good week of practice, I thought they prepared really well. But for some reason, we just didn’t get the ball in the hole today.”
The Hawks’ shooting woes were seen all over the court on Saturday. Terrace made only 14 shots from the field, were two-for-21 from behind the three-point arc and missed all five of their fourth quarter foul shots.
Despite Terrace’s ineffectiveness on offense, their defense kept them in the game well into the second half.
“We just held them to 19 points below their average,” Sood noted of his squad’s defensive effort against the high-scoring Seahawks. “They average 67 (points) a game; they had 48. If you had told me that (would happened) before the game, I’d say we would have been successful tonight.”
“Defensively I thought the guys did a good job,” Sood added.
Two minutes into the second half Anacortes’ Jesse Keltner grabbed an offensive rebound and scored, pushing the Seahawk advantage at the time to 31-18. But Terrace whittled the lead down to six points, 36-30 late in the third quarter after Khyree Armstead converted two free throws attempts and then, on the subsequent Seahawk possession, blocked a shot by Keltner and scored on a lay-in of his own.
But that was as close as the Hawks would get as Anacortes opened up an 11-point lead, 41-30, after a Connor Rodriguez three-point shot went in with 49 seconds to go in the third quarter.
Keltner had a double-double for the Seahawks, scoring a game-high 15 points and grabbing 10 rebounds; the big 6-foot-6 post player also had two blocks and two steals in the contest.
Sean Kirk led the Hawks with 13 points while Armstead chipped in 11 for Terrace.
Terrace had gone into the district title clash on a four-game winning streak. Sood hopes the loss will motivate his squad as they head into a likely winner-to-Yakima (site of 2A state tournament games March 1-4), loser out regional game on Feb. 24 or 25.
“There some teams that will lose a district championship that doesn’t want to lose again,” Sood said. “Maybe that’s going to us. The kids’ character will say that’s not going to happen again. They’re going to do everything in their power to see what they can do to come out next game — and that’s what we hope to do.”
To view the entire District 1/2 2A Boys Basketball Tournament bracket, click https://www.nwcathletics.com/tournament.php?tournament_id=1959&sport_id=3.
Prep Boys Basketball: Mountlake Terrace vs. Anacortes, Feb. 18 (District 1/2 2A Boys Basketball Tournament championship game)
Terrace 9 7 16 6 — 38
Anacortes 13 15 13 7 — 48
Mountlake Terrace individual scoring: Sean Kirk 13, Khyree Armstead 11, Brock Davis 7, Keegan Grayson 4, Brendan Hayes 3, Mason Peterson, Joey Gardner, Zeke Tomas, Connor Williams, Max Hull
Anacortes individual scoring: Jesse Keltner 15,Tyler Blouin 9, Connor Rodriguez 8, Tryston Lowry 6, Evan Rodriguez 5, Jacob South 5, Eli Moore, Derek Vance, Cort Senff, Payton Beaner, Zerick Shores, Thomas Dylan
Records: Mountlake Terrace 13-10 overall; Anacortes 19-2 overall
Mountlake Terrace next game: Friday or Saturday, Feb. 24 or 25, opponent, site and time to be determined (WIAA 2A State Boys Basketball Tournament regional round game)
–By Doug Petrowski