EVERETT — The Everett Community College men’s basketball team appears determined to hold onto its crown.
The defending Northwest Athletic Conference North Region champion finds itself all alone in front again after the Trojans defeated the rival Edmonds Tritons 92-76 on Saturday night at the Walt Price Student Fitness Center.
Saturday’s game was an early test of regional supremacy as both teams came into the night 3-0 in region play, the only undefeated teams left in the North. But the Trojans (12-7, 4-0 NWAC) dominated the first half behind their switching man-to-man defense, building a 20-point halftime lead. Then Everett withstood a Tritons surge early in the second half before pulling away at the end.
“The first half we played really loose,” Everett coach Mike Trautman said. “Everything they threw at us we expected, and we shot the ball well, moved the ball well and played really good defense. To hold them to 28 points in the first half was huge for us because we’re not known for being a good defensive team, our numbers don’t show we are because we didn’t play very good defense early in the year. But we’ve adjusted things, and for us to hold them under 30 in the first half was impressive.”
Markieth Brown Jr. led the way for the Trojans. The multi-talented sophomore guard from Spokane, who’s leading NWAC in scoring, showed off his all-court game by compiling 27 points, nine rebounds, five assists, three steals and three 3-pointers.
Brown was also a key figure in stemming the second-half tide. The Tritons (12-6, 3-1), behind a full-court press that forced a slew of turnovers, rallied out of halftime to cut the deficit to nine. However, back-to-back 3-pointers by Brown and Elijah Seybold pushed the lead back to 67-52. Everett’s lead never dipped below double digits the rest of the way.
Jon Parker added 17 points off the bench for Everett, as the Trojans received strong contributions from reserves Parker, Seybold (seven points, six rebounds, six assists, three steals) and Piol Makuei (six points, five rebounds, three assists). Starters Magnus Jesperson (13 points 10 rebounds) and Phalon Maddox (12 points, six rebounds) played well, but were limited by foul trouble.
Having started the league season 4-0, including a victory over the team that may be its biggest challenger, Everett has positioned itself for a run at a second straight North Region title.
“I think we’re positioned great,” Brown said. “But we still have 10 more games to go, so we have to knock these 10 out before anything’s promised to us.
“I think we played great from start to finish tonight,” Brown added. “We had a couple minutes where we were out of it, but overall we played well, and our defense was great. We cut off their scorers, really denied their scorers.”
Drew Magaoay, a graduate of Cascade High School, led Edmonds with 22 points, five rebounds and two steals. Sean Kirk, a Mountlake Terrace High School graduate, added 15 points, while Erwin Weary Jr., a Cedar Park Christian alum, chipped in 14 points and five boards.
“We had a lot of settling for shots, which was pretty out of character for us, and we didn’t really show patience in our offense, and that’s unfortunate,” Edmonds coach Kyle Gray said about his team’s first-half struggles. “It happens, you kind of go through it sometimes, it’s just tough to do it on the road in a big game like this.”
Despite the loss, Edmonds still finds itself in good position, particularly considering the team underwent almost complete turnover from last season, when it finished third in the North Region.
“We’re fine,” Gray said. “We lose on the road to a good team, that’s what happens sometimes in the NWAC. I’m not going to pay too much attention to the final score, it was a really bad half, we just have to get better from it and move forward. We really like this group, and I think this group has its best basketball ahead of it.”
Everett 75, Edmonds 65
EVERETT — Mariner High School graduate Hannah Hezekiah scored 30 points as the Everett women used a big second half to defeat Edmonds on Saturday afternoon at the Walt Price Student Fitness Center.
Everett, which has just seven players on its roster, didn’t show any fatigue down the stretch as the Trojans outscored Edmonds 45-31 in the second half, despite having two players foul out. The Trojans (8-11, 3-1 NWAC), trailed 34-28 at halftime, but used a 9-0 run to start the third quarter to take control of the game. Arlington High School graduate Serafina Balderas added 18 points for Everett.
Edmonds (7-5, 2-2) was led by Alex Lancaster-Banglos’ 14 points and eight rebounds.