By Alex Bosworth Herald Writer
MILL CREEK — Thanks to a pregame technical, it took exactly zero seconds for the Stanwood boys basketball team to grab a lead against Cascade.
It took the Spartans much longer to put away a feisty, short-handed team they had blown out two times earlier in the year.
Stanwood kept its cool, and now the Spartans are headed to state for the first time since 2002.
Drew Haugstad scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half, and Wesco North No. 1 seed Stanwood pulled away from Cascade 60-39 in the 4A District 1 boys basketball semifinals Saturday at Jackson High School.
Stanwood, which has now won an impressive 13 games in a row, will play the winner of Jackson-Lake Stevens in the 4A District 1 championship at 6 p.m. Saturday at Jackson High School.
“It feels amazing right now,” said Stanwood senior Zack Johnson, a four-year varsity player whose team had gone 0-4 in the past three years in winner-to-state games. “I’ve been there a while … we really pulled together in this game.”
Cascade was missing its leading scorer, senior guard Chris McGrath (16.8 points per game) injured his ankle in the opening district playoff game.
The Bruin bench also received a pregame technical when a Cascade player dunked during warmups.
Those facts, combined with the fact that Stanwood had defeated Cascade by margins of 22 and 33-points during the regular season, seemed to point to an easy victory for Stanwood.
Early on, it was anything but easy. Cascade came out energized and capitalized on early second-chance points. Stanwood led by just five points at halftime, 27-22.
“You know, we had been in that game before,” Ward said. “I think part of it was (nerves). … (what we talked about at halftime) was ’I want to see the team I saw the past 12 games’. … (In the second half) it was two different teams, in my opinion.”
Haugstad scored 11 points and hit three 3-pointers in the third quarter, as Stanwood used a 16-0 run to take a comfortable lead for good.
“He came into the locker room at halftime (kind of down),” Johnson said of Haugstad. “(We picked him up, told him not to force shots) and he did a really great job.”
Johnson scored 15 points for the Spartans and Kale Schmidt, another four-year varsity player, added 10 points.
Cascade, the Wesco North No. 3 seed, was led by Spencer Hancock’s seven points.
The Bruins play Shorewood in a loser-out game at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Jackson.
At Jackson H.S.
Cascade—Bruce 0, Taylor 0, Hancock 7, Jackson 3, Garrett 6, Hilliard 6, Nelson 3, McDaniels 5, Cline 6, Barton 3. Stanwood—Garcea 0, Jamieson 0,Youngren 0, Haugstad 25, Reinecke 4, Schmidt 10, Harris 0, Cook 4, Schroyer 4, Johnson 15, McCune 0, Taylor 0. 3-point goals—Hancock 1, Haugstad 5, Reinecke 1. Records—Cascade 14-8 overall. Stanwood 16-6.