Mountlake Terrace is going to get an early wake-up call Thursday.
Fifth-ranked Mountlake Terrace plays third-ranked Rainier Beach at 9 a.m. in a Class 3A state quarterfinal boys basketball game at the Tacoma Dome.
And the 23-1 Hawks are going to need to hit the court running against the 24-3 Vikings.
According to local coaches who have seen Rainier Beach play this season, the Vikings are pedal-to-the-metal for 32 minutes.
Glacier Peak got the most recent look at Rainier Beach, losing 87-51 to the Vikings in the state regional last Friday.
“I do think Terrace has plenty of talent to compete with them,” Glacier Peak coach Brian Hunter said. “To me, it really comes down to if they can prepare for the pace of the game and the speed of the game.”
For a preview of the other three 3A boys quarterfinals games, click here
Mountlake Terrace coach Nalin Sood has done his homework and he knows what his team is in for.
“You can’t let them get out in transition and you have to value the basketball,” Sood said.
Kamiak played Rainier Beach in December, losing 85-58. Cory West, the Knights head coach, said the Vikings look intimidating from the moment they step on the floor.
“They’re big,” West said. “When they warm up they look like a college team.”
Once the game begins, West said the majority of the points the Vikings score is in transition from their unrelenting pressure defense. A challenge for the Hawks will be to try and force the Vikings into a half-court game.
“It will be really tough,” West said. “Once you do get past their pressure, they pretty much let you run your stuff.”
It could be in a half-court game where the Hawks’ 6-foot-7 senior post Ryan Shannon could play a key role.
“Shannon is an advantage for them in that (half-court) game,” Hunter said.
For a look at the five players to watch in the 3A boys quarterfinals games, click here
Shannon should be a presence inside against the Vikings, Hunter said. Shannon’s ability to play defense and make his teammates better also bodes well for the Hawks.
“Ryan being there this year has allowed the players to play a role that was more comfortable for them,” Hunter said.
But if the Vikings have to prepare for Shannon, the Hawks certainly have to prepare for Rainier Beach’s Anrio Adams, a 6-3 guard who has made a verbal commitment to play his college basketball at Kansas. But Adams has his sights set on a state championship first.
“Athletically he is at a different level than Terrace is used to seeing,” Hunter said.
Adams seemingly can do it all on the floor and Hunter said the Hawks need to beware of how good a shooter Adams is.
“We are going to make him work,” Sood said of Adams. “Great players are going to get theirs. We hope if Adams is going to get his points its not going to be on 60 percent shooting, but 40 percent.”
Mountlake Terrace comes into the game with a one-point loss to Shorewood as the only blemish on their record.
“I’ve seen Terrace play a couple of times this year,” West said. “They’re tough.”
While the Hawks might not have seen any teams with the speed and athleticism of the Vikings, it is likely that Rainier Beach hasn’t seen a team that can defend quite like Mountlake Terrace.
“I think Beach needs to prepare for the fact that Terrace plays a really physical style of defense,” Hunter said.
Like most years, most of the statewide attention has been on Rainier Beach, but Terrace has quietly outworked opponents with defense and depth all season. It’s possible Terrace is a juggernaut flying under the radar.
“Terrace doesn’t have to play perfect to win,” Hunter said.
But perfection couldn’t hurt.