SNOHOMISH — If you’re going to make school history, do it on your home court surrounded by a swarm of frenzied fans.
That’s what the Glacier Peak High School boys basketball team accomplished Wednesday in the Class 3A District 1 tournament championship. A second-year school with its first class of seniors, Glacier Peak used pressure defense to rally in the second half and defeat the Meadowdale Mavericks 55-50 in the Grizzlies’ jam-packed home gym.
It is a remarkable feat for Glacier Peak (19-5), which was led by senior guard Brandon Hill’s 25 points and three 3-pointers. Hill, junior 6-foot-11 center Payton Pervier (10 points) and junior swingman Tanner Southard (11 points) helped the Grizzlies earn the district’s No. 1 seed for the 3A state tournament, which begins Wednesday at the Tacoma Dome.
Glacier Peak, which lost twice against Meadowdale (18-6) earlier this season, snared its first district basketball title and first state berth.
“I’m really, really excited for the kids,” Glacier Peak coach Brian Hunter said. “District championship — that was our goal at the beginning of the year. It’s really, really, really tough.”
“I think as a second-year school … this just doesn’t happen,” said Hunter.
Glacier Peak withstood an incredible performance by Meadowdale post Connor Hamlett (36 points). He scored the final basket of the first half and gave his team a 25-24 lead.
But midway through the third quarter Glacier Peak cranked up its full-court defensive pressure, generating a barrage of layins and free throws that completely changed the game.
In the fourth quarter, Hill scored eight points (including two 3s) in a span of 82 seconds as Glacier Peak built a seven-point edge (50-43). Meadowdale never got closer than five points the rest of the way.
Despite the result, Meadowdale, which placed sixth at state last year, is the true marker of success among Western Conference 3A teams, Glacier Peak’s Hunter said.
“I don’t think there’s a team in Wesco that takes Meadowdale lightly. They’re the real deal,” he said.
Senior guard Sam Werner scored nine points for Meadowdale, which still can advance to state. The Mavericks will play Shorecrest in a winner-to-state, loser-out second-place game at 6 p.m. Saturday at Glacier Peak High.
Spearheaded by sophomore forward Emmanuel Chibuogwu Jr. (21 points) and senior guard Isaiah Clevenger (20 points), Shorecrest (17-8) routed Ferndale (8-16) 70-52 earlier on Wednesday in a loser-out game at Glacier Peak High.
The night ended with a massive Glacier Peak celebration in the middle of the court. Hundreds of pumped-up Grizzlies students erupted from the stands and stormed the court, turning their boys hoops team’s historic win into a post-game party.
The key to success, Hill said, is pretty simple: Work hard all the time.
“Really, we’re not the most talented team,” said Hill, “but we work the hardest and that’s really what we try to do every day.”
It was the fourth meeting between Glacier Peak and Meadowdale this season. Meadowdale won the first two (56-55 on Dec. 10 in Lynnwood and 52-49 on Jan. 21 in Snohomish). Glacier Peak prevailed in the third head-to-head battle, winning 49-47 on Feb. 18 in a district seeding game in Lynnwood.
Glacier Peak has evened the season series at 2-2. Who knows? Maybe the Wesco South rivals will clash again at state.
But for now, the district-champion, T-Dome-bound Grizzlies will savor their latest triumph.
“Meadowdale’s a great team,” Hill said. “Trying to stop Hamlett’s a big task, but we’ve been watching a lot of film and we’ve been able to kind of adjust to it and learn how to score off them.”
At Glacier Peak H.S.
Meadowdale—Neff-Warner 4, Werner 9, Beucherie 1, Tallman, Hamlett 36, Buck, Linton, Dooley. Glacier Peak—Persha 4, Hill 25, Cummins, Bonner 5, Pervier 10, Southard 11. 3-point goals—Werner 2, Hill 3. Records—Meadowdale 18-6. Glacier Peak 19-5.
Shorecrest 70, Ferndale 52: At Snohomish, Junior Chibuogwu had a game-high 21 points, and Isaiah Clevenger was right on his heels with 20 points and two 3-pointers in the loser-out 3A District 1 playoff game. Shorecrest plays Meadowdale at 6 p.m Saturday at Glacier Peak in a winner-to-state, loser-out game. Shorecrest used a big first half to grab a 29-16 lead.
At Glacier Peak H.S.
Shorecrest—Clevenger 20, Adams 0, Canfield 0, T. McCoy 3, Diel 8, Hake 0, Bateman 2, B. McCoy, Brown 12, B. McCoy 4, Shattuck 0, Chibuogwu 21. Ferndale—Woodworth 0, Whitman 0, Mason 0, Morris 15, Jeff Frost 10, Carr 13, Hunt 4, Jake Frost 0, Ford 0, Rogriguez 0, Schroter 10. 3-point goals—Morris 3, Jeff Frost 1, Carr 2, Clevenger 2, Diel 2, T. McCoy 1, B. McCoy 1. Records—Shorecrest 17-8 overall. Ferndale 7-16.
Mike Cane: firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out the prep sports blog Double Team at www.heraldnet.com/doubleteam.