MOUNTLAKE TERRACE – For the Mountlake Terrace boys basketball team, one rule stands firmly above all the rest.
You better bring the defense.
Shots may not always fall, but the Mountlake Terrace Hawks expect defense to be there every second of every game.
For virtually all of Friday night’s game at Mountlake Terrace High School, it was. The Hawks downed Meadowdale – a Class 3A state playoff semifinalist the past two seasons – 51-34 in a key Western Conference South Division contest.
During one stretch of the 32-minute game, the Hawks held Meadowdale scoreless for 11 minutes.
“To hold someone scoreless for 11 minutes – I don’t care who you’re playing – that’s very good defensive basketball,” said Mountlake Terrace coach Nalin Sood, whose team improved to 3-1 in the division and 3-2 overall.
Meadowdale missed 11 consecutive shots and committed six turnovers during the stretch, which spanned the second and third quarters.
“That should be there in the early part of the season,” Sood said. “The offense usually takes a while, but the defense should always be there.”
On Friday, the Hawks needed it. Shortly after Meadowdale post Danny Hagen ended the drought by making Meadowdale’s first free throw attempt with 2:04 remaining in the third quarter, Jake Linton hit a 3-point shot to cut Terrace’s lead to 31-25.
Mike Boxley, who was responsible for more than his fair share of defense, scored 13 of his 17 points in the final 12 minutes to ensure the victory. Boxley, a 6-foot-5 forward who recorded a triple-double against Lynnwood on Dec. 11, also spent some time guarding Linton, a 5-foot-11 sharp-shooting point guard.
Linton scored nine of his game-high 19 points in the first quarter. He admitted that Boxley – who he said he has played with and against since the two were “little kids” – provided a tough matchup.
“He’s good, he’s long,” said Linton, who hit five of the game’s six 3-point baskets. “It’s tough to get shots off. That’s when I started looking for my other teammates.”
The rest of Meadowdale’s starters combined for seven points.
“If (Linton) is open, he’s going to hit,” said Boxley, who began guarding Linton in the second quarter as the Hawks continually switched defensive strategies against him. “You’ve just got to play good defense. Tenacious defense.”
The Mavericks, who led 13-10 after the first quarter, also played their share of defense. The Hawks, who led by just six points with 7 minutes remaining needed an 8-0 run to put the Mavs away.
“We just need to execute on offense,” said Linton, who also grabbed five rebounds. “We’ll get there, though. Defensively, we looked good.”
At Mountlake Terrace H.S.
Meadowdale-McGinnis 2, Linton 19, Larson 2, Rouse 6, Hagen 5. Terrace-C. Hammond 5, Balch 2, L. Hammond 4, Blake 8, Boxley 17, Mundt 2, Swanson 13. 3-point goals-Linton 5, Boxley 1. Records-Meadowdale 2-2 in division, 3-2 overall. Mountlake Terrace 3-1, 3-2.