MARYSVILLE — The Marysville Pilchuck boys basketball team typically thrives on disciplined offensive execution in the halfcourt.
But during a pivotal stretch in Tuesday night’s battle of unbeatens, the Tomahawks used their defense to force turnovers and spark a flurry of quick baskets.
Marysville Pilchuck rattled off 18 consecutive points to build a big first-half lead, and then held off a late surge by visiting Edmonds-Woodway to remain unbeaten with a 64-55 win in the Wesco 3A opener for both teams.
“We talk a lot about getting deflections and steals and getting our hands on the basketball,” Tomahawks coach Bary Gould said. “Any time you can get a deflection or a steal and turn the other team over, that’s a good thing.”
Marysville Pilchuck (5-0 overall, 1-0 Wesco 3A) received another massive performance from the backcourt duo of junior RaeQuan Battle and sophomore Luke Dobler, who entered the night averaging a combined 45 points per game.
Battle, a 6-foot-5 guard, matched his season high with 30 points and flushed a pair of alley-oop slams. Dobler added 12 points and seniors Josiah Gould and Kobe Bauman scored eight apiece for the Tomahawks.
“There’s times when we don’t really have anything going on, (but the opponents) just don’t have an answer for Rae,” Bary Gould said. “So that’s pretty special to be able to have.”
Marysville Pilchuck built an early lead with strong defense, holding the Warriors (4-1, 0-1) scoreless for more than five minutes during an 18-0 run first-half run. Gould had several steals during the pivotal stretch.
The Tomahawks gained separation with seven quick points in the final minute of the first quarter.
Battle began the scoring flurry with a putback lay-in, and moments later Gould converted a teammate’s steal into a transition basket.
Gould immediately followed with a backcourt steal and passed back to Dobler, who drilled a 3-pointer that capped the Tomahawks’ first-quarter scoring blitz and left Edmonds-Woodway stunned.
Bauman then swished a 3-pointer in the opening minute of the second quarter, extending the lead to 21-5 and capping the string of 18 straight points.
Bauman also drilled a 3-pointer in the closing seconds of the first half to give Marysville Pilchuck a 38-22 lead heading into the break.
But the Warriors refused to cave.
Edmonds-Woodway outscored the Tomahawks 16-4 in the third quarter, closing the period with nine consecutive points to cut the margin to 42-38.
Marysville Pilchuck pushed its lead back to nine points midway through the fourth quarter, yet Edmonds-Woodway sophomore Mutdung Bol kept the Warriors within reach by scoring 13 of his team-high 18 points in the final period.
But after Bol hit a pair of free throws to cut the deficit to 54-53 with 2:29 to play, the Tomahawks answered with a pair of transition baskets.
Bauman scored on a press-break lay-in and Gould moments later converted a teammate’s blocked shot into a transition basket, stretching the margin to 58-53. Marysville Pilchuck then sank free throws down the stretch to seal the victory.
“Basketball’s a game of runs,” Bary Gould said. “We certainly lost the momentum there for a bit, (but) how you respond in times of adversity truly will show how good of a team you’re going to be.”