ARLINGTON — In the last week, the comeback has sort of been Meadowdale’s thing.
After losing in a Class 3A District 1 boys semifinal basketball game, the Mavericks bounced back to topple Shorecrest and Lynnwood and get themselves to within one game of a state berth.
So, down 10 points entering the fourth period of Saturday night’s win-and-in game at Arlington High School, head coach Chad McGuire didn’t sweat it. Nor did he in overtime. Or the second overtime. Or a third.
His team proved him wise with a 74-70 triple overtime victory over Mount Vernon — the very team which nine days earlier put Meadowdale into the must-win or loser-out bracket.
It may have taken two extra victories and three extra periods, but the Mavericks are in fact headed to state.
“I knew we weren’t going to give up. We could have, but we didn’t,” McGuire said. “We have a lot of seniors on this team and those guys aren’t going to quit.”
Mount Vernon defeated Meadowdale 49-45 earlier in district play and appeared to be on its way to a similar win, as it owned a 42-32 lead going into the fourth quarter.
That’s when the Mavericks turned to a half-court trapping defense and momentum swung in their favor. They scored the first eight points of the period to get within two and finally tied the score with 2:53 remaining on a pair of free throws by Evan Matteson. Two more charity shots from Matt Gorman made it 48-48 with 50 seconds to play. Mount Vernon’s Mike Caswell just missed on what would have been a game-winning 10-foot jump shot at the end of regulation.
Neither team was able to get much separation through the first two overtime periods, although Meadowdale did have a chance to win on the final possession of each. The Mavericks failed to get a shot off on the final play of the first overtime and Paul Werner’s 3-point shot rimmed in and out at the end of the second extra session.
In the third overtime, Werner hit a 3-pointer to spark a 6-0 Mavericks run and make it 65-60. From there, it was just a matter of knocking down free throws, and Meadowdale went 9-for-10 to close out the victory.
And the celebration was on.
“That’s the best game I’ve ever played in. It was the most exciting for the fans and the players. It was just amazing,” said Matteson, who had eight rebounds and a game-high 19 points. “We haven’t been to the state tournament since my brother was in high school. So, as a team, we just stepped our energy up and played like we wanted it.”
Werner finished with 16 points, while Matt Gorman had 17 for Meadowdale. Caswell finished with 17 to lead Mount Vernon, scoring 13 of those in the overtime periods.
The key to the entire dramatic comeback, of course, was the fourth quarter. McGuire said when Meadowdale decided to go to the ever-successful trapping defense, they were simply trying to make something happen.
“One of two things happens when you do that. They were either going to take the lead by 20, or we were going to get back in the game,” he said. “Fortunately, it helped us get back in the game.”
This is Meadowdale’s third time to qualify for the 3A state tournament, all of them coming since 2003.
At Arlington H.S.
Mount Vernon7221366511 — 70
Meadowdale101012166515 — 74
Mount Vernon — Caswell 17, Mendoza 15, Baylis 14, Jensen 9, Taylor 5, Walser 4, Kingshoot 4, Woodard. Meadowdale — Matteson 19, Gorman 17, Werner 16, Dooley 9, O’Neill 8, Clampitt 4, Hamlett 1. 3-point goals — Mendoza 5, Werner 4, Jensen 3, Dooley 2.