By David Krueger Herald Writer
MILL CREEK — The first half of Marysville Pilchuck’s district semifinal game could have gone better for the Tomahawks.
Their second half, however, almost got them to the title game.
Marysville Pilchuck, the No. 4 seed out of the Wesco 3A North, almost pulled off a comeback win in the 3A District 1 semifinals against Shorecrest. But the Scots rebounded after Marysville Pilchuck took a late lead and held on to defeat the Tomahawks 55-51.
“We talked a ton about what we did in the second half and that we need to continue that,” said Marysville Pilchuck head coach Bary Gould. “If we play like we played in the second half in the first half also then that wouldn’t have been a (close) basketball game.”
The Tomahawks trailed Shorecrest 35-20 at halftime after a sluggish start. Marysville Pilchuck, which didn’t score for the first five minutes of the game, struggled again in the opening minutes of the third quarter, but found its rhythm later in the period, outscoring the Scots 17-7.
“I’m really proud of our guys because they didn’t throw in the towel and fold down 15 at half,” Gould said. “And not just down 15 it was an ugly 15. It was like we had no hope. … Baskets falling out, missing layins, it was like, ‘Oh my gosh, what’s going on?’”
Marysville Pilchuck’s comeback reached full steam after a 3-pointer by Cole Grinde gave the Tomahawks their first lead of the game, 48-46, with 3:48 left in the game.
Gould attributed part of the slow start to nerves for a young Marysville Pilchuck team that doesn’t have a lot of postseason experience.
“We haven’t been here,” Gould said. “We’re a really young team — a lot of sophomores and juniors. We go 1-19 last year. It’s definitely a new environment for us.”
Grinde had nine of his team-high 12 points in the second half, including the big basket to give Marysville Pilchuck the lead late. Josh Bevan scored 11 points and senior Dante Fields added nine points, eight rebounds and five steals before fouling out with 3:25 left in the fourth quarter.
“I felt like Cole Grinde was just unbelievable,” Gould said. “He just came out and did some really good things for us. I just think as a collective unit (we did better).”
Daniel Ghebremichael led Shorecrest (16-6 overall) with 19 points. The Scots advanced to the district championship against Stanwood next Friday.
Marysville Pilchuck (9-12) will travel to Ferndale for a loser-out game on Tuesday. The Tomahawks defeated the Golden Eagles 76-63 when the two teams met in a nonleague game on Dec. 28.
“Yeah we could have gone to regionals, but we still can,” Gould said. “That’s our goal and our goal is still alive. We turn the focus right to Ferndale and we’re going to go up to their place, it’s a long bus ride, and we’re going to get a win.”
At Jackson H.S.
Marysville Pilchuck 8 12 17 14 — 51
Shorecrest 14 21 7 13 — 55
Marysville Pilchuck—Bryce Juneau 1, Bryce Vitcovich 3, Nate Heckendorf 6, Josh Bevan 11, Michael Painter 6, Cole Grinde 12, Dante Fields 9, TJ Rice 3. Shorecrest—Conin Oishi 2, Drew Magaoay 0, Connor Hyppa 2, Daniel Ghebremichael 19, Benny Ortega 3, Zach Lawson 4, Tobyn Lawson 0, Alex Hofstrand 8, Aaron Kelly 2, Masamba Njadoe 15, Davis Strand 0. 3-point goals—Vitcovich 1, Bevan 3, Painter 1, Grinde 2, Rice 1, Ghebremichael 1, Ortega 1, Hofstrand 1. Records—Marysville Pilchuck 9-12 overall. Shorecrest 16-6.