LYNNWOOD — He swore that any of his teammates could have just as easily been the hero, and during Tuesday night’s epic battle plenty of them had their moments.
But when overtime began, Jake Linton had that look in his eyes. You know, that gaze a pure shooter gets; the look that gives the defense ulcers.
Linton, part of Meadowdale’s stellar senior backcourt, scored his team’s first eight points in overtime, including six on back-to-back 3-point field goals. In a game that was back and forth like ping-pong and intense like the SATs, Linton single-handedly outscored the Edmonds-Woodway Warriors 8-6 in the extra session to lead Meadowdale to a 55-48 overtime triumph in a Western Conference South Division basketball game at Meadowdale High School.
Linton scored a game-high 21 points for Meadowdale (13-1 league, 14-2 overall). He made four of eight 3-pointers, but the last two, which gave the Mavs a 48-44 lead with 2 minutes, 25 seconds to go, were the biggest.
"Jake’s a clutch player," Meadowdale coach Chad McGuire said. "Those two 3s he hit, it gave us some separation. That was the game right there."
After enduring 10 second-half lead changes, Linton took over in overtime. "The plays came to me," he said. "You make big plays when they come.
"I was open, so I had to shoot," he added, smiling. "It could have been anyone."
"It was a great game," Edmonds-Woodway coach Rob McMains said. "It was a playoff atmosphere. Both teams made great plays. Meadowdale just made a few more."
Larod Lover scored six points for the Mavs, but they all came in the second half, when he returned after taking an opponents’ elbow to the head in the second quarter. With 22 seconds to go in regulation, the 5-foot-10 Lover fearlessly drove to the hoop and banked in a right-handed floater that soared just above the outstretched hand of 6-6 Warriors post Jason Hopkins. That tied the score at 42-42.
E-W had a chance to win in regulation but Taylor Marsh drew a charge to give the Mavs possession with four seconds to go. They never got a shot off as E-W’s Titus Lester stole a loose ball following the inbound pass and hit the back of the rim with a buzzer-beating 3-point fling.
Reserve guard Josh Griffin’s 14 points paced Edmonds-Woodway (10-3, 12-3). Hopkins scored 11 and corralled a game-high 10 rebounds, along with several authoritative blocks.
Griffin, playing in his first game after missing a pair because of an ankle injury, sparked the Warriors much of the night. Meadowdale led 17-6 early in the second quarter, but Griffin scored five straight points to rally the Warriors.
Later, Griffin nailed one of a slew of momentum-snaring shots, a 3 from the right wing, to put E-W ahead 41-40 with 2:54 to go in the fourth.
By winning, Meadowdale extended its Wesco South lead to 1/2games over E-W, which slipped to third place, second among Class 4A teams. Mountlake Terrace (11-3, 14-3) won to jump to second in the league, tops among 4As. Terrace trails Meadowdale by 2 games.
The Mavs hadn’t lost in so long, they forgot how bad it felt. Meadowdale had won 13 straight until losing at Shorewood, 59-42, last week.
"After that Shorewood game," Linton said, "it opened our eyes that teams could beat us."
Tuesday night, Linton made sure another one didn’t.
E-W—Conti 13, Lester 2, Hopkins 11, Griffin 14, Thoms 6, Schaefer 2. Meadowdale—Marsh 11, Matteson 13, Linton 21, Hagen 2, Myhre 2, Lover 6. 3-point goals—Griffin 2, Conti 1, Marsh 1, Linton 4. JV score—Edmonds-Woodway 52, Meadowdale 44. Records—Edmonds-Woodway 10-3 in league, 12-3 overall. Meadowdale 13-1, 14-2.