Prep boys basketball: Terrace takes District 1 tourney crown with victory over Ferndale

Going into their District 1 3A Boys Basketball Tournament championship game on Saturday, the Mountlake Terrace Hawks had already put together a memorable season of 16 wins, just two losses and a deep run into the postseason. And while a berth in the regional round of the WIAA State 3A tourney had already been wrapped up for the Hawks, the team still wanted more.

The Hawks were hungry for their first District boys basketball championship since 2011-12 season and just the sixth in school history.

Even late in their District 1 tourney title game against the Ferndale Golden Eagles, when the Hawks were down by six points with 5:01 to go, Coach Nalin Sood saw something in the will of his squad.

“It just shows the resolve of these kids. I don’t want to say that it wasn’t looking good but they’re never out of it because of their defense,” Sood said.

Down 50-44, Terrace outscored the Golden Eagles 14-3 in the final five minutes and one second, earning the team a 58-53 win and the district tournament crown.

The Hawks gave up just one bucket — a three-pointer by Ferndale senior Mark Schlichting — during the final five-minute stretch to stop the tourney’s No. 7 seed and grab the trophy-winning victory.

“They just never gave up; they just kept competing, they kept believing,” Sood said of his squad.

“We got a series of stoppers and we capitalized,” Sood continued. “The team consciousness really showed on the defensive end because multiple guys stepped up and got things done.”

The Hawk defensive pressure forced the Golden Eagles to go 1-for-7 in shot attempts from the field during the last five minutes of the game. In addition, Terrace benefited from Ferndale’s cold free throw shooting. The Golden Eagles went 0-for-4 on free throw attempts during the final 3:13 — two of the misses were on the front end of 1-and-1 opportunities from the charity line.

On the offensive end of the court, Terrace sophomore Zavion Jones led the late charge. The forward scored six of his game-total 16 points during the final five minutes of the game. His final bucket came with just under a minute to go, giving the Hawks a 52-50 lead they would not relinquish.

Another sophomore, Jaxon Dubiel, had a pair of key plays in the final minute to preserve the Terrace victory. Dubiel stole an inbound pass attempt by Ferndale’s Luke Wells and scored an uncontested lay-in with 49 seconds remaining. He then sealed the Hawks’ win by making a pair of free throws with one second left in the game.

The contest had been a back-and-forth affair before the final fateful five minutes. Ferndale had started the game on a 10-0 run as the Hawks didn’t score until sophomore Don Brown converted one of two free throw attempts with 3:26 remaining in the first quarter. Then Terrace senior Jeffrey Anyimah took over and scored 10 straight points in the game, giving the Hawks their first lead at 13-12 late in the first.

The two teams traded the lead multiple times throughout the middle section of the tilt until Terrace’s final push that earned them the win.

Anyimah led all scorers in the contest with 21 points for the Hawks. Schlichting paced the Golden Eagles with 20 points while teammate Jazen Guillory contributed 18 points.

 Following the final buzzer, Hawk players gathered at center court to receive the District 1 championship trophy and then took turns snipping one net down to keep as a souvenir of the victory.
“I’ve been dreaming about these moments since I was young and watching my brother play,” Anyimah told STSPN after the win (Ayimah’s older brother Derek was a Terrace standout from 2012 to 2016). “I’ve always wanted to put a banner up and today I got to do that. I am so happy right now.”

To view the entire District 1 3A Boys Basketball Tournament bracket, click

Prep Boys Basketball: Ferndale vs. Mountlake Terrace, Feb. 19 (District 1 3A Boys Basketball Tournament championship game)

Ferndale 12 15 15 11 53

Terrace 13 14 13 18 58

Mountlake Terrace individual scoring: Jeffrey Anyimah 21, Zaveon Jones 16, Don Brown 7, Vito Mkrtychyan 6, Jaxon Dubiel 6, Adison Mattix 2, Chris Meegan

Ferndale individual scoring: Mark Schlichting 20, Jazen Guillory 18, Luke Wells 7, Conner Walcker 4, Damian Toney 4, Jewelz Terry 

Records: Mountlake Terrace 17-2; Ferndale 12-11

Mountlake Terrace next game: Regional round of the WIAA 3A State Basketball Tournament — the Hawks are seeded No. 9 and will play Saturday, Feb. 26 in a loser-out game at Jackson High School. Their opponent will be the winner of the No. 16 Kelso vs. No. 17 Shorecrest game on Tuesday, Feb. 22.

— By Doug Petrowski

  1. What a game. So glad I was there with the rest of the supporters. It cartainly was one to remember. Thank you Nalin, all the support from assistants, and the whole team. It has been a joy.

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