It’s been 46 years since the Mountlake Terrace Hawks won their only state basketball championship in 1977. While this season’s Hawk squad has had a year full of earning victories and achieving goals, claiming a state title will have to wait for yet another year.
In a WIAA 3A Boys State Basketball Tournament quarterfinal game on Thursday, Mountlake Terrace fell behind by double digits early, then mounted a comeback that — unfortunately for Hawk fans — came up just short to state tourney No. 5 seed O’Dea.
The Fighting Irish snuck past the Hawks 54-52 in the round-of-eight matchup at the Tacoma Dome.
The loss, while not eliminating Terrace from the tournament, did send the team to the consolation bracket to face No. 10 seed Bellevue on Friday, March 3. Tipoff of the Hawks-Wolverines loser-out contest is scheduled for 12:15 p.m.
“Everybody comes down here with a dream of winning a state championship,” admitted Hawks’ Coach Nalin Sood after Thursday’s loss to O’Dea. “Disappointing, but it’s a bigger-picture thing right now and we’ve got to be ready for it.”
It appeared as though Terrace may not have been ready for the quick start of the Fighting Irish on Thursday. O’Dea jumped out to an 8-0 lead in the game’s first three minutes, then saw that advantage increase to 12 points in the first minute of the second quarter after a Quincy Linton 3-pointer.
“I think it was 20-8 at one time — not how we wanted to start the game because then you’re playing catch-up,” Sood said.
The Irish built their lead to 35-21 at halftime, primarily using their huge height advantage over Terrace. O’Dea starters 6-foot-10 Miles Goodman, 6-foot-8 Miles Clark and 6-foot-5 Mason Williams — along with 6-foot-8 bench player Malcolm Clark, helped the team convert 11 offensive rebounds into 12 second-chance points in the first 16 minutes.
Overall, the Irish out-rebounded the Hawks 22-14 in the first half on Thursday.
“I wish we could have rebounded better in the first half, I wish we could have gotten our legs underneath us,” Sood said. “But (O’Dea), they’re a good basketball team; they’ve got some length. What they do, they do it well.”
Terrace was able to turn the tide in the second half, holding O’Dea to six third-quarter points and getting within two points of the lead, 47-45, after a Jaxon Dubiel 3-pointer with 2:41 to go in the game. Sood gave all the credit for the comeback to his players.
“You saw a competitive bunch of kids that didn’t give up,” Sood said of his squad. “They like playing basketball, they like competing; at a competitive stage like this you’re going to find out what kind of competitors you have. And the kids kept battling and battling, (and) gave themselves a chance to tie the game. That’s all you can ask for.”
While the Hawks were able to pull close to the Irish — trailing by two points four more times before the final buzzer — the team was never able to tie the game or take a lead of their own. “We did catch up, but we just didn’t get over the hump to get it done,” Sood noted.
Zaveon Jones led Terrace in scoring with 24 points; the junior also snatched 11 rebounds in the game. Dubiel added 12 points in the loss.
O’Dea was paced by the 14 points of Williams, five in the final three minutes of the contest. Miles Clark and Linton each had 10 points for the Irish.
Sood said that missing out on an opportunity to play for a state championship this season was “disappointing but not discouraging.” The team still has a chance to play for the fourth-place trophy on the state tournament’s final day, but only if they can beat a hot Bellevue squad on Friday.
“We will regroup; I know we’ll regroup — and we have to; we have no other alternative,” Sood said.
Will a regrouping effort mean a change in how Terrace approaches Friday’s loser-out matchup with the Wolverines? Sood responded with an emphatic no.
“The biggest thing for this team is they just got to be themselves,” he said. “That’s the best thing: I can come to basketball games not too nervous about games because we don’t have to do anything that we haven’t done. We’ve just got to be ourselves. If we do that, we’re going to be okay.”
To view the entire WIAA 3A Boys State Basketball Tournament bracket, click www.wpanetwork.com/m2/tourn.php?act=vt&tid=3795.
Prep Boys Basketball: Mountlake Terrace vs. O’Dea, Mar. 2 (WIAA 3A Boys State Basketball Tournament quarterfinal game)
Terrace 8 13 16 15 – 52
O’Dea 15 20 6 13 – 54
Mountlake Terrace individual scoring: Zaveon Jones 24, Jaxon Dubiel 12, Rayshaun Connor 6, Svayjeet Singh 4, Chris Meegan 3, Logan Tews 3, Talan Zenk, Andrew Delgadillo, Nic Sylvester
O’Dea individual scoring: Mason Williams 14, Quincy Linton 10, Miles Clark 10, Amare Jackson 9, Noel Davis 7, Malcolm Clark 4, Miles Goodman, B.J. Shannon, Brian Webster
Records: Mountlake Terrace 19-7 overall; O’Dea 20-8 overall
Mountlake Terrace next game: versus Bellevue; Friday, Mar. 3; 12:15 p.m. at the Tacoma Dome (WIAA 3A Boys State Basketball Tournament loser-out game)
— Story and photos by Doug Petrowski
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