By David Krueger Herald Writer
LA CONNER — David gave it all he could, but in the end he just couldn’t quite knock off the giant.
Only this time the giant wasn’t Goliath, it was 6-foot-8-inch La Conner post Jonah Cook. And David was the 1B Cedar Park Christian–Mountlake Terrace Lions boys basketball team.
La Conner — the No. 4 team in the Associated Press 2B poll — built an early lead and held off a relentless Cedar Park Christian-Mountlake Terrace attack to defeat the Lions 51-41 in a Northwest 1A/2B/1B game Friday night at La Conner High School.
“We were within striking distance against the (No. 4) team in the state that’s a classification higher than us,” CPC-Terrace coach Pat Russell said. “I thought we competed really well.”
After scoring nine points in the first quarter, the Lions held Cook scoreless in the second quarter, and only allowed him to score four points the rest of the way. But he still managed to be a force in the post, grabbing 11 rebounds and blocking five shots.
Unsurprisingly, La Conner was trying to work its offense through Cook, since CPC didn’t have a player over 6-foot-2 on its roster.
“The game plan was to get the ball inside, inside, inside,” said Braves’ head coach Scott Novak. “… When we got the ball to Jonah we scored. We’ve got a 6-8 guy and we want to utilize him.”
With CPC forward Daniel Schettler pestering Cook on defense, La Conner tried to capitalize on what appeared to be a mismatch, with 6-2 point guard Micah Patterson guarding the Braves’ other big post– senior Tyler Howlett. But Russell said that was part of the Lions’ plan, having one of their smartest defenders helping out down low.
“Micah had to put up with the other big guy as a point guard,” Russell said. “But that works because we can get the ball to him quick. He’s great at helping out. Just a smart, smart player.”
Patterson had his hands full on offense as well, guiding the Lions’ up-tempo attack. The Cedar Park Christian – Mountlake Terrace offense was incredibly consistent in the first three quarters – scoring 12 points in each and maintaining about a five-point deficit – before going cold in the fourth.
“We missed a lot of shots,” Russell said. “They’re a really good team. That’s the bottom line.”
The Lions had opportunities in the final quarter, forcing numerous La Conner turnovers. But CPC – MLT couldn’t capitalize with points on the offensive end.
The Braves coach wasn’t incredibly pleased with his teams’ ball handling in the final quarter. Novak said that the Braves have a team goal of committing less than 10 turnovers a game.
In Friday’s contest they turned the ball over 24 times.
“Give Cedar Park Christian credit,” Novak said. “They came out fast. We let them hang around and that gave them confidence.”
The Lions went on a 7-2 run to start the third quarter and tie the score at 31. They took the lead the next time down the court on a deep two-point shot from Wilson Reidt that gave CPC – MLT its first lead since the first quarter.
But in the fourth quarter the Lions’ offense struggled. Cedar Park Christian didn’t score until an Eric Matson free throw with 2:37 left in the game, and didn’t get a field goal until Ben Reidy put a shot in from the post with under two minutes to go.
“We were forcing shots that maybe we don’t normally force,” Russell said.
In the fourth quarter, La Conner’s Spencer Novak hit his fourth 3-pointer of the game to increase the Braves’ lead to 11 points. Russell said that was tough to overcome.
“That three that Spencer hit was huge,” Russell said. “He’s a senior. He’s done it before. That was just a huge shot.”
Novak finished with a game-high 14 points for La Conner. Howlett scored 13 points and grabbed 12 rebounds.
Scott Novak said that his team spent a good portion of the week dealing with the flu, and while he saw a lot for La Conner to work on in its next practice, he was still relieved to come away with the win.
“I’ll take an ugly win over a loss any day,” Novak said.
Reidt – who found himself in foul trouble early in the third quarter – and Patterson each finished with 11 points apiece to lead the Lions. Each player also grabbed six rebounds.
It was the first loss for either team this season. La Conner (6-0 league, 15-0 overall) remains undefeated while Cedar Park Christian – Mountlake Terrace (2-1, 15-1) suffered its first loss of the year.
“I knew this would be a competitive game,” Novak said. “They’ve got four or five guys that can handle the ball and shoot.”
At La Conner H.S.
Cedar Park Christian-MLT 12 12 12 5 — 41
La Conner 17 12 12 10 — 51
Cedar Park Christian-Mountlake Terrace–Eric Matson 3, Christian Guddall 0, Wilson Reidt 11, Daniel Schettler 3, Ben Reidy 4, Austin Schley 2, Andrew Paulson 0, Micah Patterson 11, Terry Eun 7, Zach Wallace 0. La Conner–Colby James 0, Skylar Krueger 0, Spencer Novak 14, Sean Hulbert 7, Hudson Zavala 2, Jamall James 2, Anthony Williams 0, Tyler Howlett 13, Cameron Sherman 0, Jonah Cook 13. 3-point goals–Reidt 1, Schettler 1, Patterson 1, Eun 1, Novak 4. Records–Cedar Park Christian-Mountlake Terrace 2-1 league, 15-1 overall. La Conner 6-0, 15-0.