By Aaron Lommers Herald Writer
DES MOINES — In the 2012-13 boys basketball season, Mountlake Terrace suffered its first loss of the season at the Les Schwab Invitational, held at Highline Community College in early December, to a very athletic and talented team from Lincoln High School.
Saturday it seemed the only thing that had changed was the name of the tournament and the opponent.
The Hawks faced Franklin at the same site in the tournament now known as the Muscle Milk Invitational and led by a point in the game’s final minute before the Quakers reeled off the game’s final six points to escape with a 58-53 victory. It was a comeback similar to the one the Abes pulled off a year ago.
Again, the Hawks are forced to learn from a loss in a game they felt they should have won.
“We take a lot from it of coming down to a different environment and atmosphere against guys we don’t know that well and I think as good of a team as there is in the state,” Mountlake Terrace head coach Nalin Sood said. “That’s what we got out of it. We just have to stay together, keep working and keep grinding.”
Franklin began to seize control midway through the fourth quarter. After a missed three by Eugene Artison Jr., Bernard Jenkins Jr. grabbed the rebound and scored on a reverse layup to give the Quakers their first lead since the same point in the third quarter.
The basket also provided Franklin the momentum and energy needed to make the final push.
“There was a point in the fourth quarter where their guys were sucking wind and I thought, ‘we’ve got them right where we want them,’” Sood said. “But they got some oxygen from some baskets and we didn’t. That’s all it came down to. They got their oxygen and their energy off those made baskets.”
After Jenkins Jr. missed his free throw and an empty possession by Mountlake Terrace, Keith Smith Jr. scored on a driving layup and drew another foul on the Hawks. He converted the free throw to give the Quakers a four-point lead.
Mountlake Terrace turned to Greg Bowman as it had for most of the game. Bowman scored four consecutive points including a steal and coast-to-coast lay up to tie the game at 52 with 1:22 remaining in the game. Seconds later Terrace regained the lead at 53-52 on a Yonnas Tewolde free throw.
It was the last point the Hawks would score.
After a Jamari Lewis bucket gave the Quakers the lead again, Sood called timeout to set up a play. The Hawks went to senior Loren Lacasse in the post, but his shot rimmed in and out forcing the Hawks to foul.
“We got exactly what we wanted,” Sood said. “We went with a high-low and got an isolation. We got the look we wanted and it just didn’t go down. The basketball Gods didn’t smile on us.”
Smith Jr. made two free throws and added two more after a Mountlake Terrace turnover to make up the final margin of victory. Smith Jr. scored a game-high 29 points and finished 16-for-20 from the foul line.
Bowman scored 25, but was the only Hawks player to score in double figures. Sood said the team could have used an additional scoring threat.
“Maybe that could have got us the few points we needed to get over the hump,” Sood said. “I think the contributions if they can come from all the guys than we can be the team we want to be.”
On any given night Bowman or Lacasse are likely to lead the team in scoring, but Lacasse had an off night finishing just 2-for-9 with eight points.
“He never got a rhythm going and he probably passed up some looks,” Sood said. “I don’t know if they held him down, he just never got a rhythm going.”
The Quakers outscored Mountlake Terrace 18-10 at the free-throw line, where the Hawks were just 10-for-17.
“There is eight points right there,” Sood said. “We’ve got to start doing a better job on free throws.”
The Hawks have been to the state tournament in Tacoma the past two seasons and placed fourth a year ago, but many of this year’s players lack the experience of playing in those games. For those that do, Sood said Saturday’s loss will serve as a lesson.
“Basketball education 101, it’s a lesson to be learned today,” Sood said. “It’s a lesson to be learned about how hard you have to play to be successful, how much you have to value every possession and rise to the challenge.”
Aaron Lommers covers prep sports for The Herald. Follow him on twitter @aaronlommers and contact him at email@example.com.
At Highline C.C.
Franklin 10 16 11 21 — 58
Mountlake Terrace 12 11 18 12 — 53
Franklin—Keith Smith Jr. 29, DuPree Daley 0, RayJuan Stelly 0, Michael Carter III 0, Emanuel Siale 2, Eugene Artison Jr. 14, Trevon McCoy 0, CJ Bussey 6, Jamari Lewis 5, Javonte Jordan 0, Bernard Jenkins Jr. 2, Cameron Benford 0. Mountlake Terrace—Isaiah Green 2, Yonnas Tewolde 1, Prescott Day 4, Gabe Altenberger 0, Matthew Moisant 7, Greg Bowman 25, Loren Lacasse 8, Yoel Tekle 6 . 3-point goals—Smith Jr. 1, Artison Jr. 1, Bowman 3, Lacasse 2. Records—Franklin 3-0, Mountlake Terrace 4-1.