Friday night, the Hawks' defense delivered them the 3A District 1 championship in a 53-45 victory over the Glacier Peak Grizzlies.
With the win, the Hawks take the top seed into the 3A state regionals. The Grizzlies move on to face Shorecrest, which beat Ferndale earlier in the evening, for the second regional berth from District 1.
For the Hawks, the key to slowing down the Grizzlies was controlling Glacier Peak's standout post, Zach Pederson. Though Pederson finished the game with 23 points, the Hawks swarming defense -- led by Ryan Shannon, who guarded Pederson most of the night -- never allowed him to get into a rhythm.
"I think we guarded the heck out of him," Mountlake Terrace coach Nalin Sood said. "Everybody has, but he's going to do some stuff. You just got to put your hands up and more power to him. You force him into those jump hooks and he's good at them. He's a throwback. He would be an NBA player with what he does back in the 60s and 70s."
Pederson kept attacking, but Shannon did a great job of staying in front of him all night. The most success Pederson had was when Shannon got into foul trouble.
"He's a Division 1 player for a reason," Glacier Peak head coach Brian Hunter said of the Montana State-bound Shannon. "That's what Division 1 players do. They play good defense."
As they have been for much of the season, Mountlake Terrace was balanced on the offensive end, led by Marquis Armstead and Blake Fernandez, who each scored 16 points. Shannon contributed seven points to go along with his stellar defensive performance.
Glacier Peak struggled to get much on the offensive end besides Pederson. No other Grizzlies player had more than six points.
The Hawks began the season 19-0, but suffered a one-point loss to Shorewood on the final day of the regular season. Some have wondered if the Hawks' loss was actually a good thing. Sood said the answer came Friday.
"Tonight it (the loss) is," he said. "If we lost tonight, it wouldn't have been. But tonight it is, and I told everybody when we lost that game that we will know in about two or three weeks if it was beneficial or not. There are no trophies for going undefeated, but there is a trophy going in the trophy case tonight."
At Mountlake Terrace H.S.
Glacier Peak 9 12 8 16 -- 45
Mountlake Terrace 16 15 11 11 -- 53
Glacier Peak--Tarvin 6, Vader 2, Rosales 2, Preece 6, Pederson 23, Pohrman 3, Davelaar 3. Mountlake Terrace--Zerom 2, A. Moisant 0, Fernandez 16, Shannon 7, Armstead 16, Bowman 4, E. Moisant 1, Lacasse 3, Russell 4. 3-point goals--Tarvin 1, Pederson 1, Armstead 3. Records--Glacier Peak 16-7, Mountlake Terrace 22-1.
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