SNOHOMISH — Before its final regular-season game Wednesday, the Glacier Peak boys basketball team joined what seemed like the entire population of the Pacific Northwest and descended on downtown Seattle to celebrate the Seahawks’ Super Bowl victory.
The Grizzlies brought inspiration back with them from the celebration and used it to fuel a fourth-quarter shooting onslaught and a stifling defense while dispatching a favored Mountlake Terrace team 57-39.
“Look at these Seahawks,” senior Trey Chambers said. “We got the same situation: underdogs. We can come in and show (everyone) what we are about. It was kind of motivation.”
Chambers had 24 points, including three 3s and 13 points in the fourth quarter that saw the Grizzlies (9-4 league, 14-6 overall) run away from Terrace (9-4, 14-5) with a 18-6 outburst.
The victory vaulted the Grizzlies into a first-place tie with Terrace atop the Wesco 3A south standings, heading into the district playoffs. Because Glacier Peak won a tiebreaker coin flip before the season, the Grizzlies will be the No. 1 seed.
“It’s not really fair, but that’s the way it is,” Glacier Peak coach Brian Hill said of the tiebreaker.
The Grizzlies alternated building a lead and watching Terrace sophomore Gabe Altenberger dissolve it with 3-pointer after 3-pointer through three quarters. The Hawk guard led all scorers with 25 points and had seven treys.
But in the fourth quarter, it was Chambers that sparked the Grizzlies’ offense. He opened the quarter’s scoring by making a 3 while being tightly defended with 7:22 to go. He made a basket in transition to make it 48-33 and finally a basket from the free-throw line with two minutes to play that sent the home fans into a frenzy.
“Trey’s hit big shots all year,” Hill said. “Trey is a true competitor. We rely on him and we expect him to do what he did tonight: play hard, lead by example and then when we need things to happen, he’s come through.”
Although Chambers’ scoring was crucial, even more so was the defense played by Justin Guffey and Tyler Kjellesvik. The Glacier Peal pair combined for zero points, but held Terrace’s Greg Bowman to merely a conventional three-point play midway through the third quarter. In the team’s previous meeting, Bowman had 32 points and he and Loren Lacasse combined for most of the team’s points as the Hawks beat GP. Wednesday night Bowman and Lacasse combined for nine points.
“Arguably he’s the best player in our league,” Hill said of Bowman. “He’s not a good player, he’s a great player.
“We did some different things defensively, but you have to give credit to individuals to step up and play defense that way.”
Rebounding was also a huge advantage for the Grizzlies, who held a 29-19 edge. Brady Southard just missed a double double with 10 points and nine rebounds for GP.
Chambers said the rebounding was just emblematic of the team’s desire for this victory.
“We wanted it more,” he said. “We wanted this game really badly. We just boxed out and tried as hard as we could.”
For the whole team, it was clear that a home playoff game and share of a league crown was a big motivator after the team was picked to finish fifth in the league in the preseason.
“Our kids just took it upon themselves to say, ‘we’re going to do something special tonight,’” Hill said. “We wanted to be a team that was picked not in the playoffs and win the league. That’s just something special they wanted on their resume.”
Chambers didn’t make any proclamations or guarantees after the game, but much like the Seahawks during their ceremony for the fans, he assured everyone listening that the Grizzlies aren’t just happy to be where they are.
“If we play like we can play, we can do something really special,” Chambers said.
Glacier Peak will have its first chance to do that Tuesday night once again in front of the home fans.
At Glacier Peak H.S.
Mountlake Terrace 11 8 14 6 — 39
Glacier Peak 11 13 15 18 — 0
Terrace—Green 2, Day 2, Altenberger 25, Moisant 0, Bowman 3, Anyimah 0, Lacasse 6, Tekle 1, Masih 0. Glacier Peak— Brooks 0, Kjellesvik 0, Watkins 0, Southard 10, Allan 8, Neill 15, Guffey 0, Argue 0, Chambers 24. 3-Point Goals— Altenberger 7, Chambers 4, Neill 2. Terrace (9-4 league, 14-6 overall), Glacier Peak (9-4, 14-5).