SHORELINE — Prior to the showdown for first place in the Wesco 3A south Friday night at Shorewood High school, Thunderbirds boys basketball coach Ben Scheffler would have been happy to have the ball and a chance to win in the final seconds against Mountlake Terrace, ranked eighth in The Associated Press 3A state poll.
He got just that, but only because the T-Birds, which lost by 13 to the Hawks in the teams’ last meeting Dec. 14, let an 8-point lead slip away.
A finger roll in the lane by Ben Andrews rimmed off before the buzzer sounded and Terrace escaped with a 52-50 victory.
Terrace coach Nalin Sood calmly exhaled as his team, which played in the 3A state tournament a year ago and includes seven seniors, outfought a feisty but less experienced team on the road.
“I didn’t think it’d be easy for them and I didn’t think it be easy for us,” Sood said.
Scheffler could only shake his head.
“It was back and forth to be honest. Both teams were battling,” Scheffler said. “We had a chance down the stretch. We didn’t get quite the look we wanted.
Shorewood (9-2 league, 14-4 overall) had a chance to wrestle control of the league standings from Terrace (10-1, 16-2). Instead, the Hawks need just one win in their final two regular-season games to clinch a share of the title and a No. 1 seed for the district playoffs.
“That’s where you want to be at the end of the game: ball in your hand with a chance to win,” Sheffler said. “It hurts, but we’re going to bounce back.”
The T-birds actually controlled the majority of the game. After trailing 2-0 in the games’ opening seconds, they pushed ahead until 7:30 remained in the game when the Hawks took their second lead at 40-39. Washington State University signee Josh Hawkinson was a force in and around the paint, racking up 14 points in the first half and a game-high 22 for the night. When he got the ball down low, he generally did what he wanted.
“He’s a great player,” Terrace’s Marquis Armstead said. “We knew that we had to drop back off some of the non-shooters and help the bigs a little bit (on defense). But we knew if we kept him contained we’d have a good chance of winning this game.”
That’s exactly what Terrace did in the second half and Hawkinson had just four points in the fourth quarter.
Early on, the T-birds’ guards made Terrace pay, but the rest of the teammates seemed to wilt under the pressure of the big-game when Hawkinson was double and triple teamed in the end.
Terrace trailed 29-22 at halftime and the Hawks drew from their experience in big games to keep fighting and stay in it.
“We talked about having poise and having confidence and having focus,” Sood said. “If you don’t have any one of those things you are probably going to get beat.”
Hawkinson built the early lead. When he got the ball down on the block it was a virtual death sentence for the Terrace defense as the senior post converted nearly every chance. The Hawks did a good job of denying him the ball initially, but that left wide-open shooters behind the 3-point arc. Brandon Mar and Zane Hopen made consecutive treys with about 2:25 remaining in the first quarter to give Shorewood a 18-10 edge. Mar was second on the T-Birds with nine points.
Loren Lacasse responded for Terrace, calmly hitting his second 3 of the game, this time with a hand in his face from the 6-foot-9 Hawkinson. Lacasse finished with three 3s and a team-high 12 points. Armstead and Greg Bowman were right behind with 11 and 10 points respectively.
Terrace made their share of bad plays, but they never seemed to come consecutively, which kept Shorewood from running away with its early lead.
“I think we can get better … We can be a little better, but I don’t think we can be better with our fight,” Sood said. “We had a great fight, a great competitiveness.”
At Shorewood H.S.
Mountlake Terrace 15 7 16 14 — 52
Shorewood 20 9 10 11 — 50
Terrace—Zerom 6, Fernandez 6, Tewolde 0, Lotz 7, Armstead 11, Bowmand 10, Sarden 0, Lacasse 12, Munnis 0, Shorewood—Freeman 6, Mar 9, Hopen 3, Gronvold 5, Andrews 5, Rattray 0, Hawkinson 22, Boone 0, 3-Point Goals— Lacasse 3, Armstead 2, Zerom 2, Bowman, Mar, Hopen, Gronvold, Lotz. Records—Terrace 10-1 league, 16-2 overall, Shorewood 9-2, 14-4