By Aaron Swaney Herald Writer
MOUNT VERNON — For two quarters the Sultan boys basketball team traded punches with sixth-ranked Anacortes.
But in the third quarter it all fell apart.
Ahead by just three points at halftime, Anacortes held Sultan to only one field goal in the third quarter to open up a 19-point lead en route to a 65-43 win in a 2A District 1/2 consolation semifinal game at Mount Vernon H.S. on Wednesday night.
The loss ended Sultan’s season. Anacortes advanced to a winner-to-regional game against Sehome on Friday.
Sultan went 1-for-11 from the field and turned the ball over seven times in the third quarter and Anacortes seemed to score at will. The Seahawks outscored the Turks 20-4 in the quarter.
“The ball didn’t go in the hoop,” said Sultan head coach Nate Trichler. “And I think the ball not going in the hoop hurt our confidence on the defensive end. It was an uphill battle and you could see the kids’ eyes change a little bit.”
Anacortes held Sultan’s Brock VandenEkart, who had 10 points before halftime, to just one free throw in the quarter and frustrated the Turks star wing with a number of double teams.
“They sent an early double (on VandenEkart) in the second half and that just took the ball out of his hand a little bit,” Trichler said. “But he still had his shots in the key and I just wish they had fallen for the kid.”
In the first half Sultan came out on fire, hitting five of its first seven shots to open up an 11-6 lead. Anacortes didn’t take its first lead until midway through the second quarter on a Sam D’Amelio 3-pointer. But a VandenEkart 3-pointer helped Sultan retake the lead and from there it was back-and-forth until another D’Amelio 3-pointer at the buzzer gave Anacortes a 29-26 lead.
Cooper Beucherie and Robbie Rappuhn each scored eight points for Sultan. Sam Cotterill had seven rebounds and three steals and Antonio Rivas had eight rebounds for the Turks.
Trichler said he’s sad to see the season end and more so that it was the last game for a trio of seniors, including VandenEkart.
“Well the seniors love them to death,” Trichler said of VandenEkart, Steven Branham and Sam Cotterill. “They worked their butts off for four years for me. Brock has been on varsity for four years and it’s going to be weird to go to summer camp without him. We’re so used to leaning on him.”
At Mount Vernon H.S.
Sultan 16 10 4 13 — 43
Anacortes 12 17 20 16 — 65
Sultan—Robbie Rappuhn 8, Steven Branham 2, Joe Schmidt 0, Kolton Anderson 0, Brock VandenEkart 17, Jordan Alexander 0, Cooper Beucherie 8, Sam Cotterill 2, Antonio Rivas 2, Deion Bonilla 4. Anacortes—Matt Aldridge 11, Ty Johnson 6, Jordan Neville 0, Daniel McInerney 0, AJ Yost 5, Sam D’Amelio 13, Alex Luevanos 2, Andrew Medalia 12, Billy King 13, Joe D’Amelio 3. 3-point goals—S. D’Amelio 3, Rappuhn 2, VandenEkart 2, J. D’Amelio 1. Records—Sultan 11-12 overall. Anacortes 18-5.