Hamlett leads Meadowdale to 3A state tourney

SNOHOMISH — There was a chance that Saturday night’s 3A District 1 playoff game would be Connor Hamlett’s last basketball game.

The 6-foot-8 senior center for Meadowdale’s boys basketball team almost single handedly made sure that the season would go on.

His game-high 17 points propelled the Mavericks to the 3A state tournament and a 45-33 victory over Shorecrest at Glacier Peak H.S.

Hamlett will play at the next level on the gridiron for Oregon State as a tight end rather than on the hardwood, so extending the season means a lot to not only him, but also the six Mav seniors.

“It’s great to have guaranteed two more games,” Hamlett said.

This will be the third straight trip to the state tourney, which begins next Wednesday, for Meadowdale — a first in program history. The Mavs lost in the semifinals a year ago. Hamlett and guard Sam Werner also played on the 2008 team that didn’t place at state.

The Mavericks will not be happy just showing up to the Tacoma dome and have been encouraged by the presence of Jackson in the finals of the 4A tournament. Meadowdale swept the two game series this season with the T-Wolves — both wins by at least 24 points.

“We are placing at state,” Hamlett said. “That was the goal from the start. You look at the 4A side and you have a Wesco team in the state championship. Who says there can’t be another Wesco team in the state championship?”

It marks the second consecutive year that that Scots, who haven’t been to state since 1995, ended their season in a winner-to-state, loser-out contest. Shorecrest did not roll over, however.

Jordan Diel drained Shorecrest’s only 3-pointer of the night to pull to within two points at 35-33 with three minutes and 39 seconds to go in the game.

But guard Matt Beucherie and Hamlett combined for 10 straight points as the Scots’ 3-point attempts rimmed off along with the clock’s final seconds.

“We fought back,” Shorecrest coach Brian Fischer said. “We had some momentum but Meadowdale was too tough. Connor Hamlett was more than we could handle tonight as well as their shooters.”

Spencer Linton came off the bench in the second quarter to give the Mavs a spark. The sophomore long-distance specialist hit three consecutive 3-pointers, the third of which gave Meadowdale a 13-point advantage — the biggest of the game.

Midway through the second quarter and with the Scot offense struggling, Jordan Brown stepped up and asserted himself. He scored on three straight trips down the floor to keep the game from getting away from Shorecrest. The Scots closed the first half on a 7-3 run making it 25-18 at the break. Brown’s nine points was the second highest total on the night.

Hammlett sent a few Shorecrest attempts into the first row of seats while protecting the rim, but his biggest presence may have been erasing Shorecrest’s second-leading scorer Junior Chibuogwu.

The 6-foot-6 sophomore forward was held scoreless in the first half and finished with just seven points — four below his season average.

“He’s a great player and he’s very good at driving to the hoop and on offensive rebounds,” Meadowdale coach Chad McGuire said. “So, we were trying to take him away.”

The outcome may have been different had Isaiah Clevenger been in the lineup for the Scots. The senior guard, averaging a team-best 12 points per game, was scoring close to 20 per game during the district tournament but was out tonight because of an unspecified rules violation. It was his second missed game of the year that was not due to injury.

“If you watch him the last three weeks he’s one of the best players in the league,” McGuire said. “There’s no doubt they missed him tonight.”

At Glacier Peak H.S.

Shorecrest51378—33

Meadowdale1114713—45

Shorecrest—T. McCoy 2, Diel 3, Hake 6, Bateman 6, B. McCoy 0, Brown 9, Chibuogwu 7. Meadowdale—Neff-Warner 4, Casper 0, Linton 9, Werner 5, Beucherie 6, Tallman 2, Gage 0, Dooley 2, Sand 0, Buck 0, Hamlett 17, Spade 0. 3-point goals—Linton 3, Neff-Warner 1, Werner 1, Diel 1. Records—Shorecrest 17-9 overall. Meadowdale 19-6.

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