Prep boys basketball: Mountlake Terrace advances to 3A state quarterfinal

Mountlake Terrace senior Zaveon Jones (41) gets vertical under the basket against three Todd Beamer HS defenders during the Hawks vs. Titans state championship bracket game Wednesday afternoon at the Tacoma Dome. (Photos by Michael Bury for the My Neighborhood News Network).

The Mountlake Terrace boys basketball team was presented with a big challenge on Wednesday: contain two all-league scorers and put up points against an all-league Defensive Player of the Year. It’s safe to say “mission accomplished” on both accounts.

Mountlake Terrace, the No. 5 seed in the Class 3A state basketball tournament, used strong efforts on both ends of the court to defeat the No. 13-seeded Todd Beamer Titans 69-59 in a loser-out matchup at the Tacoma Dome.

With the victory, the Hawks will move into the double-elimination portion of the tournament and take on No. 6 seed Mt. Spokane in a quarterfinal matchup at 12:15 p.m. Thursday.

Hawks senior Joe Asalifew (13) brings the ball up the court.

Wednesday’s win over Todd Beamer looked early on as though it might be pulled off easily as the Hawks dominated the first half. Terrace led 35-19 at halftime thanks to the Hawks’ ability to control the key at both ends of the floor, outscoring the Titans 12-4 in the key and outrebounding Todd Beamer 20-10.

But the Titans turned the game around with a big 24-6 run that started with a Terrence Whiting 3-pointer near the midpoint of the third quarter, and ended with a Will Tellis layin a minute into the fourth, giving Todd Beamer a 48-45 lead.

Hawks junior Rayshaun Connor (11) eyes the defense from outside the 3-point line.

Yet the Hawks were able to withstand the Titans run’ with a big fourth quarter of their own. Terrace outscored the Titans 24-11 down the stretch to claim the victory and extend their stay at the Tacoma Dome.

Hawks senior Zaveon Jones scored 10 of his 16 points in the final 6:04 of the game, which included a perfect 8-for-8 from the foul line during the decisive final minutes. Guard Rayshaun Connor added 16 points, making five of seven from the field and three of four from the free-throw line.

Senior Jaxon Dubiel (15) flies in for a basket against Titans defender Ahmed Ismail (10).

Connor attributed his strong offensive outing to a good start.

“I was feeling confident after the first three 3s I made,” he said.

Jaxon Dubiel scored 13 points while Gabe Towne added 11 points for Mountlake Terrace. The totals by Terrace’s frontcourt big men — Jones and Towne — are significant as they were occasionally matched up against Ahmed Ismail, the North Puget Sound League Defensive Player of the Year .

Connor had his own defensive assignment to contend with during the contest, trying to slow down NPSL all-league first-team selection Caleb Berry. Berry finished with 15 points but was only able to get off nine shots from the field (going 4-for-9) due to Connor’s defensive pressure.

Senior Logan Tews (21) sends a no-look pass to his left.

“He’s a very, very good shooter we saw on film,” Connor said. “And I just had to stay on him, don’t let him shoot, don’t let him get an open shot up.”

The Titans were led in by Tellis, another all-NPSL all-league pick. The senior scored 19 points on 7-for-22 shooting — just 31.8% from the field. Whiting added 14 points for Todd Beamer.

Junior Svayjeet Singh (35) muscles in for a shot between two Titans defenders.

The Hawks will return to the Tacoma Dome on Thursday for a contest against Mt. Spokane (20-4), the 3A/4A Greater Spokane League champion.

The Wildcats are led by 6-foot-5 senior point guard Andrew Rayment, who is averaging 20 points per game. Connor, who may get the assignment to try to slow down Rayment, is hopeful that he and his Terrace teammates can get past the Wildcats and get into the tournament semifinals on Friday.

Senior Gabe Towne (33) battles for a rebound with Titans Dominic Simpson (24).

“We’ve got a good team. Tomorrow is going to be a good game,” Connor said. “We’ve just got to hold down, take care of the ball and stay strong.”

To view the entire Class 3A state boys basketball tournament bracket, visit


Mountlake Terrace 69, Todd Beamer 59

Todd Beamer 8 11 24 16 – 59
Mountlake Terrace 20 14 11 24 – 69

Mountlake Terrace: Rayshaun Connor 16, Zaveon Jones 16, Jaxon Dubiel 13, Gabe Towne 11, Svayjeet Singh 8, Logan Tews 2, Joe Asalifew 2, Don Brown 2, Chance Chalmers 1

Todd Beamer: Will Tellis 19, Caleb Berry 15, Terrence Whiting 14, Dominic Simpson 5, Abdala Shaban 2, Ahmed Ismail 2, Josiah Davis 2, Keanu Earnest, Jaylin Wells

Records: Mountlake Terrace 22-3 overall; Todd Beamer 20-5 overall

Mountlake Terrace next game: versus Mt. Spokane; 12:15 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 28; at the Tacoma Dome (Class 3A state boys basketball tournament quarterfinal game)

— By Doug Petrowski

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