MOUNTLAKE TERRACE — Nalin Sood wasn’t thinking back to the last time his Hawks played Shorewood, a 55-54 loss to the Thunderbirds in last season’s regular-season finale, when the two teams met again Friday night.
The Mountlake Terrace high boys basketball coach had more important things on his mind than the Hawks’ only regular-season defeat. He was more focused on stopping post Josh Hawkinson and defeating the Thunderbirds this time around.
The Hawks got off to a fast start — thanks in large part to its post, junior Greg Bowman — and this time defeated Shorewood 48-35 in a Wesco 3A South showdown at Mountlake Terrace High School.
“I forgot,” Sood said with a laugh. “Really, I did. I did. … I’d sort of, through counseling, put that out of mind, so thanks for bringing that up again.”
Sood took it one step farther, even saying he would like to thank Shorewood for that loss. He said he didn’t mind trading a perfect season for an experience that helped his team reach the 3A state tournament.
“That loss helped us in three games,” Sood said, “Against Shorecrest, Glacier Peak and when we went and played Decatur because those games got tight, we got behind, and that we had been through that experience with Shorewood and knew we could get beat if we didn’t do the right things. (Otherwise) we might have lost one of those games.”
Unlike his coach, Hawks’ senior guard Blake Fernandez, playing in his first game this season after injuring his wrist in a fall-league game, had not forgotten.
“Kind of getting the revenge for last year,” Fernandez said of the win. “It felt good to get them back.”
Mountlake Terrace (2-0 league, 5-1 overall) jumped out to an 18-9 lead after the first quarter thanks in large part to Bowman, who had 11 of his 19 points in the opening period. The 6-foot-7 wing/post also grabbed 12 rebounds in the contest.
“The one thing about Greg is he’s a 6-7 guy that can put the ball on the floor,” Sood said. “He can go outside and shoot it.”
Fernandez came into the game about a minute and a half into the first quarter. The senior missed Mountlake Terrace’s first five games because of a broken wrist he sustained in a fall-league game. One of the stars of last year’s team, Fernandez provided an immediate spark for the Hawks and finished with 10 points, five rebounds and four assists.
The senior, who said he was “pretty close” to 100 percent, was just happy to be back on the court.
“At practice I’d try to get in some drills that I wasn’t supposed to be in,” Fernandez said. “It was killing me not being on the floor.”
On this subject, at least, Fernandez and his head coach agreed.
“Blake’s a good player,” Sood said. “I’m going to enjoy coaching Blake this year because you don’t get to coach a kid like him very often. I’m just happy he’s back. No kid, I don’t care who it is, should miss their senior year cause of injury.”
Fernandez said that his coach had not set a certain amount of minutes for him to play. He was just supposed to play as long as he could.
“Coach just said if I was playing well I’d keep playing,” Fernandez said.
Ben Scheffler, the Shorewood (2-1, 3-3) head coach, said Fernandez just adds to an already talented group of Hawks.
“They have two of the best players in the conference in Bowman and (senior guard Marquis) Armstead,” Scheffler said. “Now they have another kid back, Fernandez. He’s probably one of the best players in the conference too.”
Despite constant attention from the Hawks’ defense, Shorewood’s Josh Hawkinson — a Washington State University recruit — still managed 16 points and 15 rebounds. He led a Thunderbird team that had periodic offensive droughts, including the third quarter when they were outscored 10-3 by Mountlake Terrace.
Hawkinson had all three Shorewood points in the quarter.
“He’s a guy that, right when he was a freshman, my hair started turning gray, because you could see the kind of player he would be,” Sood said. “… He changes the game. If I wasn’t saying that I’d be lying. We did a lot of things around Hawkinson tonight.”
Scheffler said his team was excited to take on Mountlake Terrace again, and use the game as a “measuring stick” to see where his team stands. He hopes to get to the level of continued success that the Hawks have had in recent years.
“It’s a big game,” Scheffler said. “They’re the team to beat in the conference.”
At Mountlake Terrace H.S.
Shorewood—Taylor Freeman 2, Brandon Mar 2, Zane Hopen 2, Karson Gronvold 0, Ben Andrews 6, Zach Rattray 3, Josh Hawkinson 16, Yonathan Michael 4. Mountlake Terrace—Jesse Zerom 0, AnhViet Nguyen 0, Blake Fernandez 10, Michael Lotz 5, Marquis Armstead 5, Greg Bowman 19, Letrae Sarden 2, Loren Lacasse 7. 3-point goals—Rattray 1, Lotz 1, Armstead 1, Bowman 1. Records—Shorewood 2-1 league, 3-3 overall. Mountlake Terrace 2-0, 5-1.