Prep boys basketball: Mountlake Terrace falls to an impressive Mt. Spokane squad

Mountlake Terrace point guard Logan Tews (21) puts up a shot Thursday against Mt. Spokane. (Photo by Craig Parrish)

In 2022, the Mountlake Terrace boys basketball team suffered one of its most lopsided losses in state basketball tournament play, losing by 25 points to the Mt. Spokane Wildcats.

And while the Hawks were certainly not looking for a similar outcome in their state tourney rematch with the Wildcats on Thursday, sometimes history does repeat itself.

“It’s ‘Groundhog Day’ from two years ago,” said Mountlake Terrace coach Nalin Sood.

Behind a blindingly hot shooting performance, Mt. Spokane startled the Hawks into full retreat and defeated Mountlake Terrace 82-58 in a Class 3A state basketball tournament quarterfinal clash at the Tacoma Dome.

The Wildcats pulled away from the Hawks with a 20-6 run over a five-minute stretch of the first half, grabbing a 36-22 lead midway through the second quarter. Terrace was able to cut the deficit to 10 points a couple of times in the third quarter but could get no closer as the Wildcats proved too hot to withstand.

“They just beat us in all aspects,” Sood conceded after the loss.

The Mountlake Terrace bench watches third-quarter action on Thursday. (Photo by Craig Parrish)

Mt. Spokane’s 82 points are the most given up by the Hawks in a game this season.

“They’ve got very good players and I told David (Wagenblast, Wildcats head coach) this: He coaches them into being a good team,” Sood said.

After a victory over Todd Beamer on Wednesday, Sood said that the Wildcats were a difficult squad to prepare for in just 24 hours.

“I’m not blaming anybody — the buck stops with me — you need about a week to prepare for these guys,” Sood said. “And that’s just to be competitive. A quick turnaround, that’s hard to get ready for those guys. They’re good, they’re skilled, they execute, they play cerebral and that’s why that game went the way it did.”

Mt. Spokane (21-4) was led by senior Ryan Lafferty, a 6-foot-5 point guard who many have touted as one of the best players in the state this year. Lafferty, who will be playing for Division 1 University of St. Thomas (St. Paul, MN) in the fall, scored 27 points by shooting 12-of-13 from the field, his only miss being a 3-point attempt in the first half.

And it wasn’t just Lafferty that shone bright from the field on Thursday; the Wildcats as a team shot a sizzling 64.2% (34-of-53) for the game, 67.9% in the first half.

Mountlake Terrace senior Gabe Towne (far left) is consoled by Hawks assistant coach Michole Mattix during the final minute of the team’s 82-58 loss to Mt. Spokane on Thursday. (Photo by Doug Petrowski)

While Terrace didn’t have a subpar outing with their shooting (23-of-50, 46%), they couldn’t keep up with the blazing pace of the Wildcats.

Zaveon Jones scored 20 points for the Hawks; Jaxon Dubiel added 14 points, including a buzzer-beating 55-foot 3-pointer to end the first half.

With the loss, No. 5 seed Mountlake Terrace (22-4) now moves into the single-elimination consolation bracket of the tournament, starting with a loser-out contest against the surprise team of the tourney, the No. 17-seeded Lincoln Abes. Tipoff is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Friday at the Tacoma Dome.

Mountlake Terrace’s Zaveon Jones (41) is checked by Mt. Spokane’s Andrew Rament (1) on Thursday. (Photo by Craig Parrish)

Sood spent the postgame huddle Thursday with his team touching upon aspects of the loss to Mt. Spokane before looking ahead to the clash with the Abes.

“You’ve got to learn from your mistakes but with a quick turnaround you can’t browbeat them,” Sood said of his postgame talk. “You can’t dog them. They’ll harbor some emotion … for a little while. But kids bounce back.”

“There’s still a lot of positives we can get if we can go play well tomorrow (Friday),” he continued. “And that’s the goal.”

Mountlake Terrace guard Rayshaun Connor (11) drives the lane against Mt. Spokane on Thursday. (Photo by Craig Parrish)

With a win on Friday, the Hawks would play for the fourth-place trophy Saturday morning against either No. 3 seed Garfield or No. 7 seed North Central.

“The goal of winning a state championship — it’s not going to happen,” Sood said. “That doesn’t happen for a lot of teams. But they can still walk out of here feeling good about things and that’s what we’ll try to do tomorrow.”

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

Hawks forward Jaxon Dubiel (23) fights through a Mt. Spokane double-team. (Photo by Craig Parrish)


Mt. Spokane 82, Mountlake Terrace 58

Mountlake Terrace 16 15 16 11 – 58
Mt. Spokane 22 21 20 19 – 82

Mountlake Terrace: Zaveon Jones 20, Jaxon Dubiel 14, Rayshaun Connor 8, Gabe Towne 7, Logan Tews 5, Joe Asalifew 3, Svayjeet Singh 1, Chance Chalmers, Don Brown, Brody Myers-Little, Jack Gripentrog

Mt. Spokane: Ryan Lafferty 27, Andrew Rayment 19, Bode Gardner 8, Nalu Vargas 8, Sam Davidson 8, Jackson Reijonen 4, McKay Smith 3, Lucas Dickau 3, Jayce Palm 2, Jackson Morris, Colt Kenison, Ben Joireman

Records: Mountlake Terrace 22-4, Mt. Spokane 21-4

Mountlake Terrace next game: versus Lincoln; 10:30 a.m. Friday, March 1; at the Tacoma Dome (Class 3A state basketball tournament loser-out game)

— By Doug Petrowski

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