LYNNWOOD — Evan Matteson did a little bit of everything at crunch time.
With Meadowdale nursing a late two-point lead, the Mavericks’ 6-foot-9 senior post grabbed four rebounds, blocked two shots, made two assists, stole the ball twice and dropped in a key free throw. His play spurred a 15-6 run over the final five minutes, helping the Mavericks top the Edmonds-Woodway Warriors 51-40 in the Western Conference South Division opener for both teams.
Meadowdale’s Matt Gorman complemented Matteson’s effort by rumbling inside to score seven of his game-high 17 points in the pivotal final stretch for the unbeaten Mavericks (1-0 in league, 3-0 overall).
Edmonds-Woodway (0-1, 2-2) led at halftime, but trailed for most of the second half.
The Warriors clawed to within 36-34 on a basket by Connor Donaldson with 5:40 remaining in the game, before the Mavericks took control behind Matteson, Gorman and Jake Clampitt who scored six of his eight points in the final quarter.
It might have been the division opener, but the intensity level between the district rivals — and the energized crowd — bore a strong resemblance to playoff basketball.
“(E-W) plays so hard, you know when you play them it’s going to be a battle,” Meadowdale coach Chad McGuire said. “You just try to gut it out.
“They play very physical and they’re well-coached, especially on defense. But our execution in the second half was very good, our shot selection was great and we made a high percentage.”
Said E-W coach Gail Pintler: “In the fourth quarter they made the shots when they needed to and we didn’t. All credit goes to them because they did what they needed to do.”
Matteson and Gorman were the Mavericks’ chief catalysts, although Paul Werner and Roger O’Neill added nine and eight points, respectively in the game.
“We just knew we had to bring it in the second half,” said Matteson who finished the game with eight rebounds, four assists, four blocks, three steals and five points. “Our guards motivated us.”
“(E-W’s) guards play really hard, but our guys took care of the ball,” the 6-foot-3 Gorman said. “We got a lot of good passes from our guards and post. Everybody just came out and played hard and put it away.”
Matteson’s performance did not surprise McGuire.
“He got better and better over the summer and through the fall and it’s nice you can see it in his game now,” McGuire said. “It’s nice, not just Evan, but our whole team…its fun to watch us play.”
Donaldson, who had seven rebounds, scored all 10 of the Warriors’ fourth quarter points and led his team with 16 points.
“He’s a tough player and it was a good match-up,” Matteson said.
Trailing by a deuce after a back-and-forth first half, Meadowdale seized a five-point advantage with an 11-4 run to open the third quarter.
The Warriors cut the deficit to 31-30 on a late 3-pointer by Kyle McCartney from deep in the left corner, but Connor Hamlett, a 6-foot-6 sophomore post, wrangled down a bucket in the lane to provide Meadowdale with a three-point edge entering the final period.
Good looks at the basket were in short supply in a first quarter dominated by intense defensive pressure by both teams. Ortiz (11 points) led E-W with six early points, while Werner tallied five for Meadowdale in an opening period that ended with the score knotted at 8-8.
E-W fell behind by five points early in the second quarter, but battled back to take a 14-13 lead on a long jump-shot by Donaldson.
The Mavericks retook the lead briefly on a bucket by Mattson, before Ortiz knocked down his second 3-pointer of the half.
Sean Laue’s steal and assist to James Conti (six points, four assists, three rebounds) on a two-on-one fast-break helped the Warriors secure a 19-17 advantage at the break.
At Meadowdale H.S.
E-W81111 10 — 40
Meadowdale 8 9 1618 — 51
E-W — Ortiz 11, McCartney 3, Conti 6, Wafer, Enquist, Laue 2, Donaldson 16, Polovina 2. Meadowdale — O’Neill 8, Clampitt 8, S. Werner 2, Gorman 17, P. Werner 9, Beeson, Hamlett 2, Matteson 5. 3-point goals — Ortiz 2, McCartney 1, P. Werner 2. Records — Edmonds-Woodway 0-1 in league, 2-2 overall. Meadowdale 1-0, 3-0.