EDMONDS — Both Meadowdale and Edmonds-Woodway learned the importance of having a star post player Saturday evening.
Unfortunately for the Warriors, they also realized what life was like without one.
Edmonds-Woodway’s 6-foot-6 senior forward, Connor Donaldson, reaggravated a knee injury with the game tied 52-52 and 2:23 remaining in the fourth quarter. That was all the time Meadowdale needed to pull out a 61-55 boys basketball win on the road, feeding its own big man — 6-9 senior Evan Matteson — down the stretch.
“You never want to see a player get hurt. I really hope he’s okay,” Meadowdale head coach Chad McGuire said of Donaldson. “We were looking inside even before that, but it still made a difference, probably hurting them even more on the offensive side of the floor.”
Donaldson had scored 23 points, including his team’s last five, when he went down on a bucket by Matteson that evened things up 52-all. By no coincidence, Edmonds-Woodway turned the ball over on its next two possessions, while the Mavericks got a pair of free throws from Matteson and two points down low from post Matt Gorman.
Donaldson’s absence sparked a 7-0 Meadowdale run, quickly turning a grudge match into a ho-hum finish.
“It’s a big win. We’re happy with any league win,” McGuire said of the key Wesco South victory. “It’s especially meaningful for the players, because it’s a rivalry game. It feels good.”
Paul Werner led Meadowdale with 23 points, knocking down three 3-point field goals and scoring 13 of his points during a five-minute stretch of the second period. Werner said he knew the game — which had its biggest lead at just seven points — would be a battle from start to finish.
“Every time we play them, it’s a physical game. It’s a rivalry and it’s a good matchup,” he said. “Late in the game, we just wanted to get the ball inside and get to the free-throw line. We did a good job of staying composed under pressure.”
Matteson started out well, scoring five points and grabbing four rebounds to go along with two blocked shots in the first quarter. He didn’t have that kind of impact again until late, when he dropped closer to the basket and started powering his way to points. His three-point play early in the fourth helped the Mavericks regain a 46-45 lead and he scored six more points in the final six minutes to finish with 12.
“Offensively, we executed really well late,” McGuire said. “We were able to get the ball down low to Evan and he did a good job of attacking the hoop and either scoring or getting to the line.”
Edmonds-Woodway led 30-27 at halftime and was still ahead 39-36 late in the third when Teagan Dooley got a jumper and a 3-pointer just before the period-ending buzzer to put Meadowdale on top, 41-39.
The Warriors responded with a 3-pointer from Nick Reilly and a three-point play by Max Ortiz to start the fourth, but Meadowdale had an answer for that with a Werner putback and a three-point play by Matteson.
That left it all up to the final minutes — which turned out to be all Mavericks.
“We have seniors and we’ve been in this position before,” McGuire said. “These guys have been there and know how to get the momentum back.”
At Edmonds-Woodway H.S.
Meadowdale–Paul Werner 23, Evan Matteson 12, Jake Clampitt 8, Matt Gorman 7, Roger O’Neill 5, Teagan Dooley 5, Connor Hamlett 1. Edmonds-Woodway–Connor Donaldson 23, Max Ortiz 11, Sean Laue 8, Kenan Polovina 4, Antoinne Wafer 4, Nick Reilly 3, Kyle McCartney 2. 3-point field goals–Paul Werner 3, Connor Donaldson 2, Evan Matteson 1, Teagan Dooley 1, Max Ortiz 1, Nick Reilly 1. Records: Meadowdale–7-2 league, 11-2 overall. Edmonds-Woodway–7-2, 10-3.