By Rich Myhre For The Weekly Herald
EDMONDS — In the early minutes it was all Cannen Roberson as Stanwood’s 6-foot-5 junior wing converted his first six shots from the field and eight of his first nine attempts on the way to a game-high 29 points.
But some much-needed contributions from other players down the stretch turned out to be the difference as the Spartans held off Edmonds-Woodway for a 61-56 Western Conference boys basketball victory on Jan. 13.
Roberson, who scored Stanwood’s first 12 points, had 14 after one quarter and 23 at halftime. But when Edmonds-Woodway adjusted its defense to contain Roberson in the second half, other Spartans were called to step up.
And they did. In particular, post Drew Sears had all of his 12 points and guard Josh Thayer added all of his 10 in the third and fourth periods.
“Obviously Cannen had a really special night,” said Stanwood coach Zach Ward. “A really special first half. But it was cool to see some other kids step up.”
Edmonds-Woodway was led by junior guard Devin Joseph with 19 points, including a 3-point field goal from left of the key with 16 seconds to play in the game that pulled the Warriors within 59-56. But Thayer followed with his two free throws moments later and Edmonds-Woodway failed to score in the remaining seconds.
Against Stanwood’s “great matchup zone … we just couldn’t hit our shots,” said first-year Warriors coach Steve Call, whose team slipped to 10-5 for the season, 5-4 in the Wesco South.
“But I like how we compete,” Call said. “I said to the guys, ‘I think we’re better than we thought we’d be at this point of the season.’ We’ve competed on the road, we’ve competed at home, we’ve been in close games, so I like where we’re at.”
Sears, a 6-9 junior center, finished the night with 10 rebounds to give him his second double-double in as many nights. He had 11 points and 12 rebounds Thursday in a 50-46 victory over Mariner.
Against Edmonds-Woodway, “(Sears) was a factor on defense and on the boards,” Ward said.
Roberson was 14-for-20 from the field against the Warriors, with all his baskets coming from around 15 and closer. He missed all his shots from farther distances, but made almost everything from the free-throw line and in.
“There were a couple of stretches where he was really in a zone tonight,” Ward said.
Roberson even played through a foul for an acrobatic field goal in the third quarter, but the referee waved the basket off, ruling the contact was a nonshooting foul.
In January, Roberson has averaged 24.8 points in four conference games, all of them Stanwood wins.
But against the Warriors, Roberson had just one field goal in the third quarter, so Sears helped pick up the scoring slack with eight points in the period while Thayer added five. Thayer then had a 3-point field goal midway through the fourth quarter and two pivotal free throws with 14 seconds remaining, and Sears added four more points in the final period.
The victory improved Stanwood’s season mark to 9-5 and its Wesco North record to 7-2, leaving the Spartans tied with Lake Stevens for second place, one game behind division-leading Snohomish.
“Our message to the kids tonight was that it’s a seven-game season and you now control what you want to do,” Ward said. “I think if we break it down like that, that every game matters, every night matters, that’ll help us keep focused.”
“We’re getting better,” Roberson said. “We’re definitely on our way up and that’s good. We’ve got a lot of chemistry, and we’re gaining confidence every game.”