MUKILTEO — After a power glitch stopped the public-address announcer from making the usual pre-game introductions, the Edmonds-Woodway Warriors quickly tapped into a potent energy source.
In a battle between previously surging division leaders, Edmonds-Woodway used intense defense and effective fast-break attacks to build a massive early lead against the Kamiak Knights. E-W led 14-2 and 20-6 en route to a 49-39 victory Wednesday in a Western Conference South Division boys basketball game at the Kamiak High gym.
Guards James Conti (10 points) and Max Ortiz (nine points) were the top scorers for E-W (5-1, 8-2), which has won six consecutive games and eight of its last nine. The Warriors entered the night tied for first place in the Wesco South with Kamiak (4-2, 5-3) but, at least this time, E-W proved its superiority.
“We just weren’t ready for some of their (defensive) pressure obviously. They’re very quick. They’re athletic,” said Kamiak coach Greg Turcott, whose team committed 17 turnovers in the first half, 14 on E-W steals.
E-W exploded for 23 first-quarter points — 18 in the first 4 minutes, 41 seconds — and led by as many as 14 in the first half.
Conti led all players with eight first-half points, all on layins and short jump shots, and was one of seven Warriors who scored at least two points over the first two quarters.
“We just wanted to get out and run and hit them quick — just go out and don’t look back from there,” said Conti, who had eight points (four on fast-break layins) during E-W’s 18-4 opening burst.
Kamiak outscored E-W 20-16 in the second half, but the Knights never got closer than nine after halftime. Post Skylar Stormo and guard Justin Glenn, Kamiak’s season-leading scorers, combined for just nine points through three quarters.
Stormo finished with eight points. Fellow post Jerad Parcells tallied four points and nine rebounds. Glenn had five steals before fouling out.
In the fourth quarter E-W scored a mere four points, all on foul shots. E-W coach Gail Pintler said the Warriors must finish better but achieved their goal of starting fast.
“Our last couple of games we’ve gotten off pretty slowly, so the goal was to get off quick and they did. They did a good job of running the floor and making their layins,” Pintler said.
E-W mainly relied on a deliberate half-court offense last season on its way to a Class 4A state tournament appearance. Pintler said he’s now encouraging his players to use their speed and create more transition points.
E-W’s array of valuable contributors included Sean Laue (five points, five rebounds, five steals, four assists), Antoinne Wafer (five points, five steals) and Kenan Polovina (four blocks).
Connor Donaldson, E-W’s No. 1 scorer, did not start but was 3-for-3 from the field and scored six points. Donaldson, who came in averaging 14.3 points per game, was limited because of a knee injury he suffered Dec. 27.
“We all just wanted to pick it up,” said Conti, who got hit on the nose during a fourth-quarter drive to the basket and got a bloody nose. “We knew we were down a big part of our offense and defense, so everyone stepped it up a notch.”
Conti played hard until the final buzzer. With victory secure in the final seconds, the 5-foot-11 senior sprinted and leaped to block a 3-point attempt by Andrew Dremlyuga, a 6-4 wing.
“They’re our league rival,” Conti said, “so I wanted to send them a message for the next game.”
At Kamiak H.S.
Edmonds-Woodway — Ortiz 9, Wafer 5, Conti 10, Laue 5, Enquist 6, McCartney, Polovina 2, Wilson 5, Donaldson 6, Heard 1. Kamiak — Ju. Glenn 5, Stormo 8, Parcells 4, Este-McDonald 7, Ruppel 7, Dremlyuga 6, LaChapelle 2. 3-point goals — Ortiz 1, Laue 1. JV score — Edmonds-Woodway 59, Kamiak 55. Records — Edmonds-Woodway 5-1 in division, 8-2 overall. Kamiak 4-2, 5-4.
Contact Herald Writer Mike Cane at email@example.com. For more high school sports news, check out the prep sports blog Double Team at www.heraldnet.com/doubleteam.