Cedarcrest’s Murphy Vliem shoots a fadeaway against Marysville Getchell on Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2024, at Cedarcrest High School in Duvall, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Cedarcrest’s Murphy Vliem shoots a fadeaway against Marysville Getchell on Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2024, at Cedarcrest High School in Duvall, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Cedarcrest boys top Marysville Getchell in Wesco 3A/2A league bout

Jack Leblanc scores 27 points as Red Wolves control the boards en route to 71-57 win.

DUVALL — The Cedarcrest boys’ basketball team attached an important league win to its resume on Tuesday night.

The Red Wolves handled a scrappy visiting Marysville Getchell group 71-57 behind an all-around effort from their deep starting unit.

Senior guard Jack LeBlanc tallied 27 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals, dropping 13 points and three 3-pointers in the second frame as Cedarcrest (13-2 overall, 8-2 league) led by as many as 20 in the contest.

Alex Amaral contributed 15 points, six boards and five assists while 6-foot-6 forward Murphy Vliem recorded a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Adam Rawlings sprinkled in seven points and handed out a game-high nine assists.

“That’s a gritty bunch (Marysville Getchell), I thought we had to gut this one out,” Red Wolves head coach Joe Ayers said. “It really showed a lot for our guys. They banded together and had each others backs, that was big for us tonight.”

Cedarcrest fired back after trailing 9-4 at the midway point in the first quarter, stringing together a 16-2 run that stretched into the beginning stages of the second as the Red Wolves held the lead for the remainder of the night.

Senior Shawn Etheridge paced the Chargers (10-5 overall, 5-5 league) with 23 points and nine rebounds as he helped Marysville Getchell claw back within single digits in the second half. Junior Bubba Palacol added 10 points and nine boards.

“We were undersized versus this team, I think they had us at every position in terms of height,” Chargers head coach Corby Schuh said. “But, our guys have a lot of heart, they play hard and they play well together. We just didn’t shoot the ball very well in the first half, but I was impressed with how we battled and kept competing.”

Cedarcrest’s size advantage on the front line helped it control the glass as Marysville Getchell struggled to come up with key rebounds. Tillman Yowell and Cooper Ayers grabbed eight rebounds apiece as five different Red Wolves hauled in at least six boards.

“We wanted to eliminate some of their extra chance opportunities,” Ayers said. “Their guards are great, so just trying to neutralize them by limiting their possessions. Our bigs did a great job of securing the basketball, but those guys were scrappers, it definitely wasn’t given to us.”

After maintaining a 38-29 lead at intermission, the Red Wolves went on their second big rally with a 14-2 spurt as they led 52-32 midway through the third quarter.

The Chargers responded with a flurry of buckets from Etheridge and Mekai Williams (10 points) to close out the third, as Marysville Getchell pulled within nine at 57-48 at the 6:30 mark in the fourth.

LeBlanc went 5-for-6 from the charity stripe in the final quarter as the Chargers couldn’t convert the necessary baskets to cut further into the advantage.

As the regular season draws to a close in the coming weeks, the Red Wolves sit in third place in Wesco 3A/2A and have notched wins in 12 of their last 13 games.

“Hopefully this season tests us for the playoffs,” Ayers said. “Wesco has a great group of coaches that run a variety of different styles. I think for us, being one of those small 2A schools, it does challenge us every night. If we keep that mindset, it does prepare us for postseason play.”

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