MOUNTLAKE TERRACE — For the past two seasons, Mountlake Terrace has concluded its boys basketball season by competing at the state tournament in the Tacoma Dome.
If the Hawks are to advance to Tacoma for a third consecutive season, senior forwards Greg Bowman and Loren Lacasse will have to be prepared to shoulder much of the offensive load.
Tuesday night against Edmonds-Woodway, both players appeared more than ready to handle the task.
Lacasse led all scorers with 25 and Bowman added 19 to lead the Hawks to a 64-56 victory over the Warriors in the season opener for both teams.
“I think we’ve got two cornerstones in Greg and Loren that can hopefully lead us,” Mountlake Terrace head coach Nalin Sood said. “But everybody has to get a little bit better for this team to be any good in the next couple weeks and months. It’s a process with these guys.”
Bowman helped put the Hawks ahead early in the game, knocking down 3-pointers on consecutive possessions for an 8-3 lead, but the Warriors closed the gap with defense and balanced scoring. Sophomore guard Jordan Rice’s runner in the lane as time expired in the first quarter closed the deficit to two points at 14-12.
The Hawks extended their lead to a 26-21 lead late in the second quarter before Edmonds-Woodway wing Jason Smarr got going offensively. Smarr scored nine points in the quarter and the Warriors came back to take a 27-26 lead at halftime. It was one of very few Warrior leads throughout the game.
Both teams became more efficient offensively in the third quarter and the pace of the game picked up dramatically from where it had been the first two quarters.
The difference proved to be Lacasse, who scored 16 points in the quarter to help the Hawks retake the lead and extend to a 49-45 advantage heading into the final quarter.
“The fact that Loren got those points in the third quarter, I didn’t even realize it,” Sood said. “But sometimes, when it’s a player like that, that’s the sign of a good player, when you don’t realize how many points he’s scoring. Hopefully I’m not going to take him for granted because if we talk at this time next year I’ll be wishing I had him.”
Lacasse finished 9-for-17 from the field and had seven rebounds. Bowman was 7-for-18 with six rebounds. Both players made four 3s in the game.
Lacasse and Bowman hoisted 16 3s between them.
“You don’t pigeon-hole them into one position,” Sood said. “Greg even went to play some point (guard) for us. They can go inside the paint, they can shoot the jump shot and they are getting better at putting the ball on the floor.”
If both players continue to get good looks, Sood said they have the green light.
“They’ve always had that skill to do it,” he said. “We keep track of shooting in practice and they would always have the green marks meaning they won? These are two guys that have 80 games under their belt in varsity and they have the skill level to do it. I’d be a fool not to give them that freedom.”
Bowman and Lacasse scored seven of the Hawks’ 15 points in the final period to hold the Warriors at bay.
Stepping into a starting role for the first time, junior guard Isaiah Green scored 10 points. Other players like junior guard Prescott Day, sophomore forward Gabe Altenberger and senior post Yoel Tekle, didn’t light up the scoresheet, but showed promise.
“I think for (Greg and Loren) to have a good season everybody else is going to have to play good,” Sood said. “Teams are going to key in on those guys and it’s going to leave other guys open. Hopefully, as most good teams are, we’ve got multiple options.”
Smarr led the Warriors with 18 points, but cooled in the second half and shot just 5-for-17 from the field in the game. Senior post Travis Bakken finished with 14, but shot a more efficient 7-for-11 from the field and grabbed 11 rebounds.
Aaron Lommers covers prep sports for The Herald. Follow him on twitter @aaronlommers and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At Mountlake Terrace H.S.
Edmonds-Woodway 12 15 18 11 — 56
Mountlake Terrace 14 12 23 15 — 64
Edmonds-Woodway—Trey Holland 0, Kelvin Dankwa, Jordan Rice 8, Brady Edwards 2, Tate Budnick 7, Ibro Polovina 1, Antonio Sherrill 6, Theo Lebesis 0, Jason Smarr 18, Travis Bakken 14. Mountlake Terrace—Isaiah Green 10, Yonnas Tewolde 0, Prescott Day 2, Gabe Altenberger 4, Loren Lacasse 25, Greg Bowman 19, Yoel Tekle 4. 3-pointers—Smarr 3, Budnick 1, Lacasse 4, Bowman 4. Records—Edmonds-Woodway 0-1, Mountlake Terrace 1-0.