LYNNWOOD — Nothing like a little confidence booster heading into the second round of the 3A District I boys basketball playoffs.
Connor Hamlett and his Meadowdale teammates certainly got one Wednesday.
Hamlett scored 16 of his game-high 18 points after halftime and No. 1 seed Meadowdale pulled away down the stretch for a 54-38 victory over No. 5 seed Everett in an opening-round game at Meadowdale High School.
“He got in foul trouble in the first half and was upset that he had to sit,” Meadowdale head coach Chad McGuire said of Hamlett. “… He channeled his energy in the right way.”
Fellow 6-foot-7 post Kris Larson added 11 points and Roger O’Neill also chipped in 11 points for Meadowdale.
“I told my kids they’re long, they’re strong and they’re big,” Everett head coach Aaron Nations said of Meadowdale, co-champion of the Wesco South this year along with Mariner and Mountlake Terrace. “… You have to work so hard on the defensive glass against them … You start losing your legs.”
Enjoying a six-point lead at halftime, Hamlett scored 10 points in the third quarter to put some distance between the teams, including back-to-back offensive rebounds and put backs that handed the Mavericks a 37-26 lead with 1:54 remaining in the third quarter.
Hamlett added six more points in the fourth quarter, four of those coming off nice passes from Larson.
“They really helped us seal the game,” Meadowdale forward Nasser Kyobe said.
Now Meadowdale, which went to state last year as the District 1 No. 2 seed, plays Ferndale in a semifinal at 6 p.m. Saturday at Mt. Vernon High School.
Everett plays Shorecrest at noon Saturday at Mt. Vernon.
Playing Meadowdale for the first time this season, Everett couldn’t quite keep up with the Mavericks for a full 32 minutes. But Everett closed out the second quarter with a 5-0 run and a 3-pointer by Will Brown with 20 seconds remaining which drew Everett within 25-19 at the break.
“We played real hard,” Nations said of his team, “even when we were down.”
Senior forward Flynn Mattson scored a team-high 13 points to lead Everett. Erik Homer added eight points and two 3-pointers.
After scoring nine points in the first half, Mattson was hindered in the second half by the defense of Meadowdale’s Kyobe, who had help from the two posts, Larson and Hamlett.
“(I’m) always,” worried about nerves, McGuire said of facing an Everett team that was a decided underdog. “This time of year whoever plays the best basketball is going to win.”
The Mavericks opened the game with a 9-2 run which was punctuated by point guard Khalid Surur finding Hamlett with a back door lob that the 6-foot-7 junior post threw down for a dunk and his only two points of the first half.
At Meadowdale H.S.
Everett—M. Murray 0, Brown 6, McKinnon 0, Homer 8, Mattson 13, Frauenholtz 4, Barhanovich 0, Grindstaff 0, Sowinski 0, Daly 7 Meadowdale—O’Neill 11, Neff-Warner 2, Johnson 0, Beucherie 0, Surur 0, Coleman 0, Kyobe 9, Carroll 2, Hamlett 18, Larson 11 Sand 1. 3-pointers—Homer 2, Brown 1. Records—Everett 5-17 overall. Meadowdale 18-4.