By David Krueger Herald Writer
The big takeaway from Friday night’s game between La Conner and Cedar Park Christian – Mountlake Terrace was pretty simple: these teams are good.
Really good. Like, going to state good. Like, in the Herald Power Poll good.
La Conner – which is ranked No. 4 in 2B in the latest Associated Press poll – came out on top, defeating CPC – MLT, which is just outside the top five in the 1B poll, 51-41.
“We were within striking distance against the (No. 4) team in the state that’s a classification higher than us,” said CPC – Mountlake Terrace coach Pat Russell afterwards. “I thought we competed really well.”
Both these teams are going to make some noise come playoff time, and both warranted rankings in the Herald poll. In the most recent one, CPC – MLT was No. 10 and La Conner snuck in at No. 15. That will obviously change come Monday.
However, I believe both teams should still be ranked.
When we make the rankings one of the criteria I use is “will this team beat the teams below it?” For instance, I think Jackson (the No. 1 team) would beat every team beneath it.
Before this week these two teams were a bit of a mystery to us at The Herald. Now, having seen both of them play, it’s official: these two teams could push several Wesco 3A and even 4A teams to the limit.
Before you dismiss that thought away, listen to this.
La Conner, which is a perfect 15-0 this season, has a 6-foot-8 matchup nightmare in post Jonah Cook. Cook – who scored 13 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and blocked five shots Friday night – can work the post and shoot the midrange jumper. Cook alone would keep the Braves in games against teams from higher classifications.
Then there’s their other post player senior Tyler Howlett. Throw in guard Spencer Novak and you’ve got the makings of a team that’s going to beat some teams from higher classifications.
“They’re big. They’re the perennial 2B powerhouse in our league,” Russell said earlier this week. “They go to state almost every year. They place in the top six almost every year.”
As for Cedar Park Christian, they run an up-tempo pace that would give some 3A and 4A defenses fits. When a Lion gets open, he shoots. Case in point: forward Daniel Schettler, whose three points Friday night came from behind the 3-point arc.
“I just give them the green light to shoot whenever they’ve got the ball,” said Russell.
During football season, I would talk about how fun the Lakewood football team was to watch. Well, now that we’re in the heart of basketball season, that honor has gone to the Lions.
La Conner led most of the way, but it could just not put the game out of reach for Cedar Park Christian. The Lions were all over the Braves, forcing 24 turnovers, a season high according to La Conner coach Scott Novak.
“Give Cedar Park Christian credit,” Novak said. “They came out fast. We let them hang around and that gave them confidence.”
With point guard – and ball hawk – Micah Patterson leading the offense and dishing it out to leading scorers Terry Eun and Eric Matson the Lions are scoring about 67 points per game.
So the school with 135 students lost its first boys basketball game this year, but things are still looking up for Cedar Park Christian – Mountlake Terrace.
Just because these schools are small doesn’t mean they should be overlooked. The La Conner gym was rocking Friday night. The Lions’ fans weren’t very quiet either. I have a feeling these two teams will be playing for a while longer.
Perhaps even longer than some 3A and 4A teams.