EVERETT — As Donelle Meriwether dribbled out the final seconds of a masterful individual performance, Cascade’s student section began an emphatic “M-V-P” chant.
Then after the clock hit zero, the Bruins faithful stormed the court and mobbed the 6-foot senior standout in celebration of his rivalry-game heroics.
Meriwether scored 21 of his 30 points in the second half, rallying the Cascade boys basketball team to a 67-56 non-league win over Everett in the annual city rivalry game Friday night at Everett Community College.
“He stepped up big tonight and hit big shots,” Cascade coach Darrell McNeal said. “He played like a senior. He played like a veteran.
“Everything he did tonight was nothing shocking. The kid’s capable of playing this (type of) game. He shows us these things in practice. I’m just happy for him. He had a great night.”
With the Bruins (1-1) facing a seven-point third-quarter deficit, Meriwether began taking over the game with a mix of decisive drives to the basket and pinpoint outside shooting.
The senior guard scored his team’s next seven points, kickstarting a 19-2 Cascade run that spanned into the fourth quarter. Later on, he put Everett away with 10 points in a span of about two minutes.
“He’s a smart kid,” McNeal said. “We just ran our motion (offense), and he goes, ‘Coach, he can’t guard me.’
“I go, ‘Let’s keep running motion, and when you find the gaps, hit those gaps and do what you can do.’ And he did it.”
Meriwether began his second-half scoring flurry by attacking the rim for a pair of buckets. He then added a 3-pointer and a tough finish near the hoop, giving the Bruins a 44-43 lead late in the third quarter.
Cascade opened the fourth with a pair of quick buckets, and senior guard Brandon Brown followed with a 3-pointer that stretched the margin to 53-44.
Everett (0-3) refused to cave, cutting the deficit to four points on three separate occasions in the fourth quarter.
But each time, Cascade’s senior standout had an answer.
After the Seagulls trimmed it to 53-49, Meriwether countered by swishing a 3-pointer. Everett responded with a 3, but Meriwether came right back with another bucket.
Then after the Seagulls cut it to 58-54 with less than four minutes to play, Meriwether provided the dagger.
The Cascade senior drilled a 3-pointer and moments later added a transition lay-in off a steal, ultimately putting the game out of reach by giving the Bruins a commanding 63-54 lead.
Sophomore guard Luke Wugumgeg added 12 points for Cascade and senior Musa Baldeh scored 10.
Everett 6-foot-4 senior forwards Wes Erickson and Elijah Ross-Rutter led the Seagulls with 16 points apiece.
In the first half, Wugumgeg came off the bench and sparked the Bruins with eight points in less than a minute. The speedy 5-foot-8 sophomore hit a buzzer-beating runner off the backboard at the end of the first quarter and added a pair of 3-pointers in the opening minute of the second period, giving Cascade a 22-16 lead.
Everett responded with an 11-0 run, capped by an Erickson reverse lay-in. Soon after, Ross-Rutter stole a pass and threw down a breakaway slam to give the Seagulls a three-point lead shortly before halftime. Everett later rattled off 10 consecutive third-quarter points to build a 39-32 advantage.
But Meriwether rallied the Bruins to victory with his brilliant second-half performance.