For the Mountlake Terrace Hawks, an appearance in an out-of-town holiday hoops showcase is often a mix of some fun and a lot of work. For the team’s recent trip to Longview for the MLK Classic, even the on-court game-play turned out to be more fun than work.
In the opening contest of the all-day event, the Hawks sweated — and smiled — their way to a 82-37 rout of the Aberdeen Bobcats in the Myklebust Gymnasium of Lower Columbia College in Longview.
“Fun, straight fun,” is how Terrace junior Muhammed Kinteh described the blowout and the trip to southwest Washington state, “after we (got) business done.”
For the Hawks, business was good on Monday. Terrace scored the game’s first six points, led 15-2 after the first five minutes, then built a 22-5 lead before the Bobcats picked up a layin to close out the first quarter.
Terrace led by 34 points at halftime and was never challenged in the game.
The 45-point victory was the Hawks’ biggest winning margin in more than two years, matching the 86-41 blowout over Lynnwood on Dec. 2, 2017.
Robbie Baringer led Terrace with 19 points; the junior also grabbed eight rebounds and dished out three assists. Kinteh tallied 16 points — his high for the season — while Brady Blackmer and Trazz Pepper each contributed 10 points in the victory.
The stats spelled out just how dominant the Hawks (2A/3A Wesco League, 9-2 overall) were over the Bobcats (1-3 in 2A Evergreen Conference, 5-8 overall): Terrace forced Aberdeen into making 19 turnovers while committing only three of their own; the Hawks scored 29 points off of turnovers while the Bobcats scored none.
Terrace also outrebounded the taller Bobcats 27-16, recorded 20 assists compared to four for Aberdeen and had 13 steals compared to just two for the Bobcats.
The final 12 minutes of the game was played with a “mercy rule” running clock due to Terrace’s 40-plus lead midway through the third quarter.
While enjoying the lopsided victory, coach Nalin Sood took advantage of the on-court time against an opposing side, urging his team to keep running planned offensive plays throughout the second half. “Once we get into a lead like that we usually try to focus on not making mistakes to see if we can run our plays to perfection,” Kinteh explained.
Much of that offense on Monday went through Kinteh in the post. The junior said he likes being such an integral part of what the team is trying to accomplish on the offensive end of the court.
“The first thing I want to do is try to score,” Kinteh said. “If I’m not open, I try to get my teammates a shot.”
Those opportunities were falling for Kinteh and his teammates on Monday as the Hawks shot 56.4% (31-for-55) from the field.
Terrace also used the “business” trip to Longview to continue solidifying a team chemistry that is turning dividends with on-court team performance. Bonding has never been a big challenge for this team, noted Kinteh.
“(This season is) a lot of fun because we’ve got pretty good team chemistry,” Kinteh stated. “We’re all interested in the same things most of the time.”
One of those interests, in addition to succeeding on the court, is doing well in the classroom. The team spent almost two hours in their hotel on Sunday night at a “study table” to prepare for semester finals on tap this week.
Team members also had opportunities to meet one-on-one with their coaches to go over season stats and expectations for the second half of the 2019-2020 season, which begins with a key Wesco League matchup against the 7-2 Shorecrest Scots on Wednesday, Jan. 22.
Prep Boys Basketball: Aberdeen vs. Mountlake Terrace, Jan. 20
Aberdeen 7 10 9 11 — 37
Terrace 22 29 20 22 — 82
Mountlake Terrace individual scoring: Robbie Baringer 19, Muhammed Kinteh 16, Bradey Blackmer 10, Trazz Pepper 10, Mason Christianson 9, Jeffrey Anyimah 8, Adison Mattix 6, Vitaly Mkrtychyan 2, Cameron Larson 2
Aberdeen individual scoring: Jayden Watson 9, Giavonni Pisani 8, Wyatt Johnson 7, Griffin Kinkade 5, Kayden Seibert 2, Ethan Morrill 2, Nick Farrer 2, Romeo Sanchez 2, Angel Baltazar, Dylan Richie, Andrew Troeh
Records: Mountlake Terrace 4-1 in 2A/3A Wesco League, 9-2 overall; Aberdeen 1-3 in 2A Evergreen Conference, 5-8 overall
Mountlake Terrace next game: versus Shorecrest; Wednesday, Jan. 22; 7:15 p.m. at Mountlake Terrace High School
— By Doug Petrowski