EVERETT — Coach Bobby Thompson said his Everett Seagulls go as junior guard Taras Fesiienko goes, and on Friday evening against city-rival Cascade, Fesiienko offered a generous power supply to a young Seagulls team.
“Taras is an electric player,” Thompson said. “He is a special player. We’re a young team and we are learning, but he is modeling the way for our guys.”
A 43-point effort with plenty of steals, assists and tough rebounding is a pretty good template.
Fesiienko was around the ball all night, scoring 26 of his game-high 43 in the second half and helping Everett claim a 69-58 non-conference win against Cascade.
Many of Fesiienko’s points came in transition or off steals created from Everett’s press defense. He also added a team-high seven rebounds, and teammate Jeremy Reed contributed 10 points in the first win of the year for the Seagulls (1-1).
“We can do dynamic things when we press, and tonight that was our calling card,” Thompson said. “Guys got some energy into that and played well. We are going to have to play like that to be successful.”
Cascade (0-2) was led by Aidan Davis’ 23 points, and Kenny Fassett chipped in 13.
The Bruins hung with the Seagulls throughout, but never led after opening the game with two technical foul free throws. Everett answered with a 7-0 run, and the closest margin after that was four points the rest of the way.
Everett sophomore Peter Wilson got the Seagulls off to a fast start before Fesiienko took over, scoring nine first-quarter points.
Cascade cut Everett’s lead to 19-15 early in the second quarter before the Seagulls began applying a 3/4-court trap defense that flustered the Bruins. Fesiienko scored nine consecutive second-quarter points in what was part of an 11-2 run that extended the Seagulls’ lead to 30-17 with 1:05 to play until halftime.
Cascade answered with six straight points to trim the lead to 30-24 entering the break. The Bruins trailed 36-30 early in the third quarter before Everett again ramped up defensive pressure and began pulling away.
Everett ventured on a 10-0 run, and Fesiienko made an acrobatic 3-pointer at the third-quarter buzzer to give the the Seagulls a 53-40 advantage heading into the fourth.
Everett held a double-digit lead until late in the fourth when a basket from Salah Hussein trimmed the Seagulls advantage to 63-56 with 1:30 to play. But Everett converted free throws down the stretch to earn the rivalry win.
“If we can play with the collective energy that we played with tonight, at times, we will have the ability to surprise some people,” Thompson said. “But we have a lot of work to do, a lot of work. Tonight, we had a great night. The fans were awesome. The score was great. We’ll definitely celebrate this win tonight.”