TACOMA — Back on Dec. 8 the Lincoln Abes and Mountlake Terrace Hawks faced each other in a nonconference game at the Les Schwab invitational.
As far as basketball games go, they don’t get much better than that one. The Hawks led most of the way, but the Abes pulled it out in the final seconds, handing the Hawks their first loss of the season, 60-59.
Thursday, the two teams met again in the 3A state quarterfinals. This time the result was much different. Lincoln looked like a much-improved team, dominating every facet of the game en route to a 68-47 win.
“That’s a good basketball team with two good players,” Mountlake Terrace head coach Nalin Sood said. “But two good players isn’t enough to usually do it. You have to have a good team and they were today.”
Lincoln’s TreShaun Fletcher and Amaad Rorie outscored the Hawks all by themselves. Fletcher finished with a game-high 29 points and Rorie added 21, including four 3-pointers.
“Fletcher was on a mission tonight,” Sood said. “They really came out on a mission that they were going to play basketball at a high-level and we didn’t for some reason.”
Behind their two stars the Abes never trailed, much different from the first time the teams faced each other when Lincoln led just three times in the whole game.
“I knew we were a much improved team,” Lincoln head coach Aubrey Shlton said. “So I knew we could play better. I didn’t know how much improved they were. They are a great team, an unbelievable team. They are very balanced and well-coached. They play great defense. I thought we were capable of something like this, if we played the right way. That happened tonight.”
The Abes shot a blistering 52 percent (26-for-50) for the game, while Terrace struggled throughout, shooting 31.7 percent (20-for-63). The Hawks couldn’t get anything going from the outside either, they knocked down just two of 12 three-point shots, both by guard Jesse Zerom.
“They missed some easier looks,” Shelton said. “It wasn’t all our defense. I think maybe it was a little bit of the dome. Sometimes people are a little off, so we got some breaks that way. But I’m really excited about the way we are playing defense right now.”
Most of the Hawks players had played in the Tacoma Dome for state a year ago. Sood wouldn’t let playing on the big stage be an excuse.
“If it was the backdrop or the dome, why would they shoot 52 percent and we shoot 31 percent?” Sood asked.
The Hawks couldn’t find any consistency on offense. Post Greg Bowman scored the Hawks first seven points of the night, but never scored again. Jesse Zerom had a team-high 10 points and Blake Fernandez chipped in nine, but it wasn’t nearly enough to match Fletcher and Rorie.
“They played well tonight and we didn’t play very well,” Sood said. “We would have to play really well to beat them.”
The Abes advance to the semifinals to play Lakeside today at 9 p.m. Mountlake Terrace plays University in a loser-out consolation game at 2 p.m.
Aaron Lommers covers prep sports for The Herald. Follow him on twitter @aaronlommers and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At Tacoma Dome
Lincoln – 16 20 16 16 – 68
Mountlake Terrace – 9 12 12 14 – 47
Lincoln – LaTravion Satterwhite 4, Josiah Barsh 0, TreShaun Fletcher 29, Dionte Simon 2, Kashawn Johnson 2, Justice Martion 6, Amaad Rorie 21, Semaj Booker 0, Joshua Eckwood 0, ArMond Davis 4, Jusstis Warren 0, Cameron Collins 0. Mountlake Terrace – Jesse Zerom 10, Isaiah Green 0, Blake Fernandez 9 , Yohans Tewolde 0, Michael Lotz 6, Marquis Armstead 4, Greg Bowman 7, LeTrae Sarden 4, Loren Lacasse 7. 3-point goals – Fletcher 1, Rorie 4, Zerom 2. Records – Lincoln 22-3 overall, Mountlake Terrace 21-4.