TACOMA – The Mountlake Terrace boys basketball team is not used to losing.
The Hawks’ lost only their second game of the year Thursday morning in the first round of the 4A state tournament as Rainier Beach used constant defensive pressure and shot over 50 percent from the field to defeat Mountlake Terrace 67-51 at the Tacoma Dome.
After an evenly-matched first quarter, Rainier Beach began to attack the basket in the second. The Vikings literally shot the lights out as play was suspended in the quarter because the scoreboard stopped working. The Vikings finished the quarter with 19 points to Mountlake Terrace’s 11.
“The game got away from us in the second quarter,” said Hawks head coach Nalin Sood.
Anrio Adams, a University of Kansas recruit, led Rainier Beach with 24 points. Adams had 10 of those in the fourth quarter as Rainier Beach built a 20-point lead. Elijah Foster added 13 points and nine rebounds for the Vikings.
“I can’t say enough about Elijah Foster,” Rainier Beach head coach Mike Bethea said of the sophomore forward.
As for Adams, the Hawks did their best to slow him down, but conceded that it was all but impossible to stop him completely.
“Obviously, he’s a good player,” said Mountlake Terrace forward Ryan Shannon. “He’s gonna get his (points). He was able to do his thing.”
The Hawks began the second half with a 7-0 run that brought the score to 30-25, but that’s as close as Mountlake Terrace would get. Rainier Beach’s full-court defense began to wear down the Hawks, who had Shannon – a 6-foot-7 forward – bringing the ball up the floor at times.
On offense Rainier Beach shot 60.9 percent from the floor in the second half. That, coupled with 17 Hawks turnovers – and 21 Rainier Beach points off those turnovers – created a large gap between the scores.
“Uncharacteristic,” Sood said of all the turnovers. “We had more turnovers than we’d like to have or we need to have to be successful.”
At halftime Sood tried to rally the Hawks and tell them they could compete with Rainier Beach if they played their best basketball. The Mountlake Terrace coach told his team to make a point of executing their offensive plays.
“I don’t think we were playing to our potential,” Sood said. “Especially on the offensive side.”
Marquis Armstead led Mountlake Terrace with 16 points – including 10 of Terrace’s 16 third quarter points. Armstead made two free throws and then swished a 3-pointer to rally the Hawks’ fans, which outnumbered those from Rainier Beach by about 10-to-one.
“Marquis is a rhythm-type player,” Sood said. “I have a lot of confidence in Marquis when he squares up and focuses. He’s really a gamer.”
Armstead scored in double-digits despite the fact that the Rainier Beach defense was keying on him and made stopping the junior wing the No. 1 defensive priority.
“The one thing we really wanted to focus on was Armstead,” Bethea said. “As he goes, they go.”
After the game, Armstead said that his team had opportunities to reduce the deficit, but just couldn’t capitalize on enough offensive – or defensive – possessions to rally back.
“I just don’t think we executed our defense or offense like we should have,” Armstead said. “We had chances to get back in the game.”
Shannon scored 10 points for Mountlake Terrace and sophomore Greg Bowman tallied eight points and eight rebounds. The Hawks, who shot 33 percent during the game, actually outrebounded Rainier Beach 32-26.
All the coaches and players agreed that the result had nothing to do with being tired because of the 9 a.m. start time of the game.
“I don’t think 9 a.m. had anything to do with it,” Armstead said.
Mountlake Terrace plays in a consolation game Friday, again at 9 a.m., against Lake Washington. If the Hawks win out, they can still claim fourth place in the 3A state tournament.
The Hawks won’t do anything different to prepare for that game. Although they do hope it will have a different result.
“There’s no time to wallow in misery,” Sood said. “Everybody remembers what you did last. That’s a true test to your basketball team. How do you respond to challenges?”
At Tacoma Dome
Rainier Beach–Piper 10, Miller 0, Ladd 9, Cooke 0, Dorsey 3, Foster 13, Davis 6, Adams 24, King 0, Maxie 0, Niles 2, Pili 0. Mountlake Terrace–Zerom 3, A. Moisant 0, Fernandez 1, Shannon 10, Lotz 0, Armstead 16, Bowman 8, E. Moisant 0, Lacasse 2, Russell 11. 3-point goals–Ladd 1, Dorsey 1, Davis 1, Zerom 1, Armstead 2. Records–Rainier Beach 25-3 overall. Mountlake Terrace 22-2.