MILL CREEK — For just the second time in the past quarter-century, the Marysville Pilchuck boys basketball team is headed to state.
Luke Dobler scored 22 points as the Tomahawks clinched a state regional berth with a 61-49 win over Arlington in a 3A Northwest District tournament semifinal Wednesday night at Jackson High School.
“It’s really, really cool,” Marysville Pilchuck coach Bary Gould said of securing a state berth. “It’s validating. It’s special because these are such great boys.”
Prior to reaching the 3A state quarterfinals in 2015, the Tomahawks hadn’t been to state since 1993, when Gould was a senior on the team.
“It’s so fun to be able to get back there,” Gould said. “At Marysville Pilchuck High School, there’s a long history of success in athletics. And for us to be able to contribute to that is really important.”
The victory also advanced Marysville Pilchuck (18-4) to Saturday’s district championship game against Stanwood. It will be the Tomahawks’ first district title game appearance in Gould’s 13 seasons at the helm.
Arlington (15-8) will play in an elimination game Friday against Edmonds-Woodway. The Eagles now need two wins to reach the state regionals.
“They’re better than we are right now,” Arlington coach Nick Brown said of Marysville Pilchuck. “They have a good core and they moved the ball around and did a better job of getting the ball in the hole. They’re a good team, well-coached and athletic.”
Dobler, a sophomore guard, hit four 3-pointers and a pair of jumpers while scoring at least 20 points for the sixth time this season.
“He does all the little things exactly right,” Gould said. “He has to, because he’s limited athletically and he knows it. But he does every little thing. He’s crossing guys up, he’s hitting pull-up jumpers, he’s hitting 3s, he doesn’t turn the ball over, he handles the ball.
“I mean, he’s incredible. He’s a 10th-grader, but I never worry when he’s in the game. He’s a one-in-a-million player. He’s unbelievable.”
Dobler’s performance helped offset a rare off-night for teammate RaeQuan Battle. The junior standout finished with 15 points, but many of those came on free throws late in the fourth quarter. Battle scored just two points in the first half while struggling from 3-point range.
“For RaeQuan to have the start that he did, that was kind of foreign,” Gould said. “And I think sometimes when your superstar isn’t performing, then everyone else kind of folds. But we had different guys step up.”
Dobler helped the Tomahawks shake off a slow start, hitting three 3-pointers in the opening period to give Marysville Pilchuck an 11-7 lead.
After the Tomahawks rattled off nine consecutive points in the second quarter to build a 22-11 advantage, Arlington answered with six straight points to make it a five-point game.
Marysville Pilchuck senior Kobe Baumann then swished a deep, contested 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer to give the Tomahawks a 27-19 lead at the break.
Arlington rallied to take a pair of one-point leads late in the third quarter, but the Tomahawks answered with 3-pointers from Dobler and Battle to reclaim the advantage. Marysville Pilchuck never trailed again after that, pulling away with a 23-6 run that spanned the end of the third period and most of the fourth.
Arington was led by junior post Ayodele Aribibola, who scored seven of his team-high 15 points in the opening quarter.
Stanwood 67, Shorecrest 49
Nate Kummer scored 19 of his 25 points in the second half as the Spartans pulled away to clinch their sixth consecutive state regional berth with a 3A Northwest District tournament semifinal win at Jackson High School.
The victory advanced Stanwood (16-6) to Saturday’s district title game against Marysville Pilchuck.
Stanwood’s Trygve DeBoer added 11 points, including a pair of 3-pointers early in the third quarter that helped the Spartans gain separation. Stanwood outscored Shorecrest 24-12 in the third period, turning a three-point halftime lead into a 52-37 advantage.
Carson Bickford and Mitch Jones added 10 points apiece for the Spartans, who beat Shorecrest (17-5) in overtime last week in the teams’ regular-season finale. Stanwood has won 11 of its past 12 games.
Philip Pepple led the Scots with 16 points and Latrell Jones added 11. Shorecrest, which has lost three of its last four games, will play Meadowdale in a district elimination contest on Friday.