ARLINGTON — After trailing Mount Vernon the entire game, Paul Werner’s 3-pointer with 2:10 remaining in the fourth quarter brought Meadowdale within one point and gave the Mavericks hope that they might yet salvage a victory.
But that was the closest they got, finally losing 49-45 to Mount Vernon in a Wesco 3A District 1 playoff game Thursday night at Arlington High School.
“I’m proud of all our guys. We didn’t give up,” Meadowdale head coach Chad McGuire said. “They got a 10-point lead in the third quarter and we came back and gave ourselves a chance to win it at the end. I’m proud of the way we bounced back.”
Meadowdale, which now needs to win three straight games to advance to state, faces the winner of tonight’s Arlington-Shorecrest game in a contest to be played at 8 p.m. on Monday at Arlington High. Mount Vernon advances to play Squalicum in a winner-to-state game at 8 p.m. Wednesday.
“Now we’ve got to fight our way through the losers bracket,” McGuire said. “But we have quality kids and we’ll bounce back.”
Mount Vernon pulled to an early lead, scoring eight points before Meadowdale’s Teagan Dooley hit two free throws with 31/2 minutes remaining in the first quarter. With 6-foot-9 senior Evan Mattson, one of Meadowdale’s top players, on the bench and in foul trouble early on, the Bulldogs were able to take advantage and strengthen their lead to 14-8 at the end of the quarter.
“Anytime we (face) a big guy, we try and get our kids to attack (him),” Mount Vernon head coach Terry Swanson said. “(Mattson) got two quick fouls and that kind of hurt them in the first half.”
Senior guard Michael Caswell’s two 3-pointers in the second quarter helped Mount Vernon gain a 27-19 halftime advantage.
“We knew we needed to shut down No. 3 (Caswell) and we didn’t do a good job of that,” McGuire said. “We (also) knew we needed to get the ball inside and we did a better job of that in the second half.”
Meadowdale pulled within two points after going on a 9-3 run in the beginning of the third quarter and the score settled at 36-30 Mount Vernon at the end of the third.
After several back and forth baskets to start the final quarter, Meadowdale’s Roger O’Neill hit a 3-point shot and teammate Sam Werner stole the ball on the next play to make an easy lay-in to bring the Mavs to within four points. Then came Paul Werner’s 3-pointer to pull within one point of the Bulldogs.
The remaining two minutes were spent on each team’s foul line, where Mount Vernon outshot Meadowdale 6-3. Caswell went 4-for-5, including two crucial shots with 11 seconds on the clock to make it a two-possession game for the Bulldogs.
“Michael’s our guy,” said Swanson about Caswell, who scored a game-high 24 points. “They knew it and they guarded him and Michael just did a nice job of making two huge shots there in the fourth quarter.”
Although Meadowdale came into the game with the better record at 19-3 overall, Mount Vernon wasn’t far behind at 16-5.
“You come into a game like this and anyone can win,” Torey Swanson said. “It’s just who executes the best and who defends the best.”
“I give (Mount Vernon) credit,” McGuire said. “They’re a good team, played well and deserved to win.”
Meadowdale senior Matt Gorman scored a team-high 14 points and O’Neill and Paul Werner each chipped in seven.
At Arlington H.S.
Mt. Vernon — Caswell 24, Walser 6, Mendoza 3, C. Taylor 4, Kingshott 5, Woodard 4, Jensen 3, Baylis 1. Meadowdale — Beeson 4, Clampitt, Dooley 6, Gorman 14, Hamlett 2, Matteson 2, O’Neill 7, P. Werner 7, S. Werner 3. 3-point goals — Caswell 3, O’Neill 1, P. Werner 1. Records — Mt. Vernon 17-5 overall. Meadowdale 19-4.