BOTHELL — For the third time this season, the Mountlake Terrace girls basketball team faced Meadowdale.
And after a sluggish start, for the third time this season the Hawks beat Meadowdale, this time needing a late run to rally in the teams’ 3A District 1 semifinal.
Led by senior guard Nikkie Froehlich, the Hawks outscored Meadowdale 49-32 in the final three quarters, after putting up just two points in the opening period, to earn a 51-41 win Saturday night at Lynnwood High School.
The win sends Mountlake Terrace to next week’s district championship and clinched a berth in the regional round of the state tournament the week after.
“It’s just amazing,” said Froehlich, who led her team with 17 points and 15 rebounds. “I’ve never felt this way. We’ve never got this far. This team is amazing. We’re like sisters, on and off the court. We just push each other to their full limits and then we’re best friends right after.”
The Hawks scored just two points in the first quarter, falling behind to Meadowdale, the No. 4 seed from the Wesco 3A South league that pulled off a surprising upset over Everett in its first round game. Then, Mountlake Terrace, the co-league champions with Glacier Peak, got things going.
Froehlich had 13 of her points in the second half as Mountlake Terrace erased a six-point halftime deficit. Mountlake Terrace got its first lead of the game with a close-range jumper by Riley Zucker 12 seconds into the fourth quarter. That began an 11-3 run for the Hawks, who outscored Meadowdale 21-10 in the final period.
“I think our pressure picked up, some of our confidence picked up and we had to get some shots,” said Mountlake Terrace head coach Zach Wilde. “We started attacking the basket a little more (instead of) just settling for jumpers, which we did the whole, basically first three quarters.”
Maddy Kristjanson had 13 points and seven rebounds for Mountlake Terrace and Samantha Romanowski added 12 points and five steals in the Hawks’ comeback, helping Mountlake Terrace advance to the district championship next Saturday against Glacier Peak at 8 p.m. back at Lynnwood High School.
It completes a big turnaround under Wilde, the Hawks’ first year head coach, who took over a team that finished 7-12 last season.
Froehlich said after last year she never believed her senior year could go this well.
“At the end of last year no,” Froehlich said. “I was just like, ‘You know what? It’s my senior year, I’m just going to play my heart out.’ Then Zach came in and said, ‘You guys have everything. We have a shooter, we have drivers, we have people who work their hearts out.’ We just didn’t know how to put it together and that’s where Zach came in and it was perfect.”
Wilde praised his senior guard, saying she was key in the Hawks’ first-round 57-52 win over Stanwood on Tuesday.
“That’s just a good player just taking over and doing what they’re supposed to do, making great plays,” Wilde said. “She’s the reason we stayed in the game against Stanwood on Wednesday. She came out and attacked the game and scored all the points.
“Everyone wants to take Sam out of the game. Her stepping up is what we need.”
The coach admitted there might have been some nerves coming out of the gate for Mountlake Terrace (18-4 overall), which doesn’t have a lot of experience playing in the postseason.
“You can see there’s nerves in those girls because they’ve never been here,” Wilde said. “But, hey, we should be here there’s no reason to be nervous. But that’s going to happen. Their kids; it’s high school. But as the game matured so did we in the end.”
Froehlich didn’t know why her team came out struggling.
“I was really stressed out, actually. I don’t know what happened to us,” Froehlich said. “We did our normal routine in the locker room.”
The senior said the team “hyped it up a little bit” and half time and came out much improved in the second half.
“I was like, ‘Wow. I had no idea that happened,’” Froehlich said of her high point total. “I guess it just flowed. I don’t know. I just kept playing and I played my heart out. I love this game. I just try and do my best for my team.”
Ndey Sonko led Meadowdale with 15 points and nine rebounds before fouling out with 3:39 to play in the game. Sonko was a strong rebounder for the Mavericks, and scored all her points in the first three quarters.
She had to sit much of the third and fourth quarters in foul trouble, which coincided with the start of the Hawks’ final run.
Senior Jaclyn Barhoum added 11 points and six rebounds for the Mavericks (8-14), who play the winner of Shorecrest-Marysville Pilchuck Tuesday night in a loser-out game. Meadowdale can still work its way through the consolation bracket to earn the district’s third seed to regionals.
Mountlake Terrace will face a familiar foe in Glacier Peak, who recently defeated the Hawks 53-42 in the teams’ final regular season game to earn a share of the league title. Mountlake Terrace is expecting another tough battle for the district championship.
“This week we’re going to have to push each other harder than we ever have before,” said Froehlich. “We’ve played Glacier Peak twice and it’s been a dogfight, a battle, each time and I think it’s going to be even harder because there’s something big on the line now.”
At Lynnwood H.S.
Meadowdale 9 13 9 10 — 41
Mountlake Terrace 2 14 14 21 — 51
Meadowdale–Ciarra Hart 0, Kassi Dotter 0, Kearstin Franco 3, Alexandria Steen 4, Angela Birchman 0, Hailey Costello 0, Jaclyn Barhoum 11, Mackenzie Bretz 5, Ndey Sonko 15. Mountlake Terrace–Nikkie Froehlich 17, Samantha Romanowski 12, Kirsty Dale 0, Shaian Pagaling 4, Yesenia Pena 0, Riley Zucker 2, Maddy Kristjanson 13, Amanda Tompkins 0, Claire Zucker 3. 3-point goals–Franco 1, Barhoum 3, Bretz 1, Pagaling 1. Records–Meadowdale 8-14 overall. Mountlake Terrace 18-4.