By David Pan Weekly Herald sports editor
The Meadowdale boys basketball team had a bumpy ride against the top two teams in the Western Conference 3A during the first week back from the holiday break.
The Mavericks started out well, pushing second-place Shorewood to overtime before losing 61-56 in a Jan. 3 contest. But in the waning moments of the game, senior guard Torin Dooley collided with a Thunderbird player and suffered a mild concussion.
Dooley, who was averaging a team-high 14 points per game, was held out against district rival and league leader Mountlake Terrace, which defeated Meadowdale 65-38 on Jan. 6.
Mavericks coach Andy Streit expects Dooley to be back this week. The Meadowdale senior actually was cleared to play on Friday night but Streit decided to be cautious.
“He’s huge for us. Not only is he our leading scorer and point guard, he just brings energy and intangibles on both offense and defense,” Streit said. “He’s truly irreplaceable for us.”
The Mavericks played well for four quarters against the Thunderbirds but struggled in the overtime period and were outscored 6-1.
“I was pleased with everything but the overtime period against Shorewood,” Streit said. “We played some of our best basketball of the year against a very good team. We were able to make some plays there at the end to give us a chance to win.”
Meadowdale simply wasn’t able to execute offensively in overtime.
“The Shorewood defense had a lot to do with that,” Streit said. “We were able to execute all night. … It was a learning experience as we head into the second half of the season.”
The Mavericks committed four turnovers in overtime.
Brian Feldhaus scored 16 points and Charles White had 15 points to lead Meadowdale (3-5 in the league, 6-8 overall).
Without Dooley, Meadowdale was able to stay with Mountlake Terrace in the first quarter and trailed by only three points, 15-12. But the Hawks pulled away from the Mavericks in the second and third quarters as Mountlake Terrace outscored Meadowdale 33-15.
“No excuses,” Streit said. “They’re a great team. We were able to get off to a good start. Their size and athleticism ultimately proved to be too much for us over four quarters. … We knew we were up against it. I was pleased with how our guys competed.”
Matt Hirsch scored 11 points and Barrett Carlow added 10 in the losing effort.
Mountlake Terrace had three players in double figures – Loren Lacase (14), Marquis Armstead (12) and Blake Fernandez (10).
“They have multiple guys who can score on any given night,” Streit said. “We just tried to play good team defense. At times we did. They’re going to capitalize on any mistake you make. As much as we tried to block out, it is tough to rebound against their size.”
Meadowdale finished the week in sixth place in the league. This week the Mavericks start the second half of the regular season.
“We know this is the defining stretch of our season,” Streit said. “I feel like we are ready to make a run. … We’ve learned what kind of a team that we are on both ends of the floor. I think we’re in a very good place as long as we stay healthy.”