MOUNTLAKE TERRACE — Win No. 100 for the Glacier Peak girls program came at an excellent time for the Grizzlies.
The landmark win came in the Grizzlies’ final regular-season game against Mountlake Terrace Thursday night, with the 53-42 Wesco 3A South victory also giving Glacier Peak a share of the league title with the Hawks and the No. 1 seed in next week’s 3A District 1 tournament.
“I think that’s big. Going into districts with a win is always big,” said Glacier Peak head coach Brian Hill. “It gives you some momentum, keeps your heads in the right place and gives you some confidence that you’re doing some things well.”
Glacier Peak finished the season with an identical league record as Mountlake Terrace (11-2). The two teams split their head-to-head matchups, so the next tiebreaker was how the teams fared against the next-best team in the league, third-place Shorecrest. The Hawks lost to the Scots in the teams’ first matchup but won the second contest.
The Grizzlies swept Shorecrest, giving them the No. 1 seed.
Glacier Peak erased a small deficit in the second quarter with a 7-0 run, and took a 23-20 lead going into halftime. The Grizzlies opened the third quarter with a 10-1 run — and outscored Mountlake Terrace 14-6 in the period — to give Glacier Peak an 11-point lead going into the fourth.
The Hawks didn’t fold in the final quarter, with Maddy Kristjanson netting nine of her team-high 16 points in the fourth, and got to within six points with 1 minute, 20 seconds left in the game.
But free throws by Nicole Fausey and Kianna Garner helped Glacier Peak stay on top and earn the historic win and its second-straight No. 1 seed – the Grizzlies also won the league title last season and continued their run all the way to the state tournament at the Tacoma Dome.
This season, Glacier Peak hopes to do the same.
“We were the No. 1 seed in the South last year too and we kind of knew this season that we were going to have people gunning for us,” Hill said. “It’s been our thing we’ve talked about all year – that we are going to get every team’s best game. So we’ve got to make sure we give them our best game. And I think we’ve done that pretty well this year.”
Taylor Baird led the Grizzlies with 17 points and six rebounds. Baird is one of two senior posts, along with Fausey, for Glacier Peak that is over 6-feet tall.
Mountlake Terrace has none.
“When you’ve got two players that, if you combine them they are the size of at least four or five of the tallest girls on my team, it makes it a little bit tougher,” said Mountlake Terrace head coach Zach Wilde. “But we’re faced with that every game. Every team in the league, or state, is bigger than us. … I try not to worry about the other team. They have to matchup with us.”
The Glacier Peak defense held Hawks’ star guard Samantha Romanowski, Mountlake Terrace’s leading scorer this season, to 10 points.
Eight of those points came in the first quarter.
“That’s what we want. We just tried to make sure that she was contained and that they weren’t running stuff off of her,” Hill said. “We made sure we gave a lot of help whenever she got the ball. … Not let Sam get going. She’s going to get some points. You can’t stop her; you can only hope to contain her.”
After the loss, Wilde was looking on the brightside with his team. The first-year coach helped turn around a Mountlake Terrace team that finished 7-12 last season and missed the district tournament.
“I guarantee you 99 percent of the coaches and everyone else didn’t think Terrace would be in this situation, playing this game this year,” Wilde said. “There are more positives than negatives.”
With a win against Shorecrest on Tuesday, Mountlake Terrace finished 1-1 this week in games against the other top-two teams in the league. Wilde said the tough competition will only help the Hawks, who hadn’t won a league title in 34 years or beat Glacier Peak ever before this season, in the district tournament.
“This game’s going to do nothing but make us better,” Wilde said. “We still got a piece of the title. We still beat every team in Wesco.”
It was a particularly big game for Wilde, who graduated from Snohomish — Glacier Peak’s biggest rival — where he had a familiar face as a teacher.
Glacier Peak head coach Brian Hill.
“I’m red and white all the way through. I went to Snohomish so I don’t like Glacier Peak,” Wilde said with a laugh. “I’m at Terrace in the red now.”
Mountlake Terrace will host Stanwood in the first round of districts on Wednesday, while Glacier Peak goes up against Marysville Pilchuck in a highly-competitive district tournament.
“I don’t think it matters who you’re playing in our tournament, it’s going to be tough no matter what,” Hill said. “These eight teams are really tough in our district tournament. You’ve got to be ready to play each night.
“I think this is probably going to be the best district tournament in the state, in terms of the eight teams that are in there.”
At Mountlake Terrace H.S.
Glacier Peak 11 12 14 16 — 53
Mountlake Terrace 12 8 6 16 — 42
Glacier Peak—Taylor Baird 17, Sadie Mensing 12, Natalie Rasmussen 2, Kaela Collins 0, Victoria Goudreau 0, Sarah Smith 3, Sawyer Manning 3, Kianna Garner 7, Samantha Fatkin 1, Nicole Fausey 8. Mountlake Terrace—Nikkie Forehlich 6, Kenzie Zehrung 0, Samantha Romanowski 10, Kirsty Dale 0, Shaian Pagaling 6, Yesenia Pena 0, Riley Zucker 2, Maddy Kristjanson 16, Amanda Tompkins 2. 3-point goals—Manning 1, Garner 1, Pagaling 1. Records—Glacier Peak 11-2 league, 18-2 overall. Mountlake Terrace 11-2, 16-4.