By Aaron Swaney Herald Writer
STANWOOD — The last time the Stanwood and Shorecrest boys basketball teams met, the Scots beat up the Spartans on the offensive glass. So it was of no surprise that Stanwood head coach Zach Ward stressed to his troops to block out before the game.
What was a surprise was Shorecrest’s six offensive rebounds in the first quarter.
Fortunately for the Spartans there were three quarters left to correct the problem and correct it they did. Stanwood limited Shorecrest to four offensive rebounds the rest of the game, ratcheted up the defensive pressure and ran away with a 63-34 victory in a 3A District 1 Tournament first-round game on Wednesday night.
“We went in focusing on offensive rebounds … and we go out and give up six offensive boards in the first quarter,” Ward said. “And I felt like (Shorecrest) got too many open looks in that first quarter. So we had a chat in between quarters and it’s like ‘OK guys wake up, blink your eyes, get a drink of water. Wake up because the things we focused on aren’t happening.’ And by the score it looks like they (woke up).”
Stanwood advances to play Glacier Peak in a winner-to-state, district semifinal game at Jackson H.S. on Saturday night at 8 p.m. Shorecrest plays at Ferndale in a loser-out consolation bracket game on Saturday at 7 p.m.
Shorecrest scored on its first possession of the second quarter to draw to within 21-16 but then went silent, in large part because of Stanwood’s lock-down defense. The Spartans forced six turnovers and held Shorecrest to 0-for-8 shooting to end the half on a 10-0 run and build their lead to 31-16.
Stanwood junior guard Josh Thayer had two steals late in the quarter and ended the game with six to set a school season record with 68.
Offensively Ian Zipp was the sparkplug the Spartans needed in the first half. With Stanwood’s offense disjointed for much of the half, Zipp came off the bench and energized the team, scoring eight of his game-high 14 points in the half.
“That’s what he can do,” Ward said of Zipp. “He’s kind of that X-factor that can go in for any of the five guys. I think it’s a pick up for the guys. The other guys on the team are like ‘OK, here’s Ian’ and they play a little more up-tempo and faster.”
Stanwood hits its offensive stride in the third quarter. Behind seven points from Cannen Roberson, the Spartans outscored Shorecrest 22-9 in the quarter to make the final quarter academic.
Now Glacier Peak stands in the way of Stanwood’s quest for a state berth. Stanwood beat Glacier Peak 55-54 in Stanwood back on Jan. 8 but Ward knows Saturday’s game will be different.
“We got them here by one and I’m sure that’s going to be bulletin-board material for them,” said Ward, who coached under GP head coach Brian Hunter when Hunter was Stanwood’s coach in 2005-06. “It’s going to be a battle. It’s going to be a good high school basketball game. The challenge for us is to mentally prepare. We know we can beat them but they’re a very good team.”
At Stanwood H.S.
Shorecrest 14 2 9 9 — 34
Stanwood 21 10 22 10 — 63
Shorecrest—Benny Ortega 2, Zach Lawson 3, Liam O’Neill 3, Alex Hofstrand 0, Sam Franks 3, Masamba Njadoe 12, Dylan Pontrello 0, Alex Horning 10. Stanwood—Mason Garcea 2, Josh Thayer 6, Cannen Roberson 11, Drew Stang 5, Ian Zipp 14, Brady Garcea 8, Kurtis Hushagen 5, Chad Larson 0, Karsten Chaplik 3, Brian O’Donnell 0, Drew Sears 9. 3-point goals—Zipp 2, Thayer 2, Chaplik 1, Lawson 1, Franks 1. Records—Shorecrest 10-11 overall. Stanwood 16-5.