MUKILTEO – Basketball purists had to love this one. Defensive juggernauts facing off in a rematch of one of the lowest scoring games in the area this season.
With a district playoff berth hanging in the balance.
The 54-49 victory by Meadowdale (11-7 in league, 13-7 overall) over Kamiak (11-7, 12-8) Thursday night at Kamiak High School on the final night of the Western Conference South Division regular season ended the Knights’ season and kept alive that of the Mavericks.
However, neither coach was aware of their status at game’s end because they didn’t know the outcome of the Jackson-Shorewood game.
“By winning this game, we might have had a chance for second place,” said a visibly dejected Kamiak coach Jeff Leary, who admitted this was one of the toughest losses in his tenure at Kamiak. “Now, just like that, we might not even be in. We might be done.”
With Shorewood’s loss, there’s a three-way tie for third. But because of head-to-head results, Kamiak – last year’s district champion – is ousted from the playoff picture.
The 4A District 1 Tournament begins Wednesday.
After Kamiak tied the score at 30-30 midway through the fourth quarter, the Knights (whose last lead was 24-23) trailed the rest of the way. They had several chances but couldn’t capitalize on Meadowdale miscues.
Perhaps the most evident example was at 35-33, when Kamiak guard Ben Iddins had one of his several steals on the night. But he couldn’t convert at the other end, missing a lay-up that would have tied the score.
Meanwhile, the Mavericks were hitting free throws and locking down defensively.
Meadowdale took a 39-33 lead after a Nero Threet lay-up in transition.
From there, Kamiak cut the deficit to three points twice late, after two Meadowdale fouls in the final 13 seconds.
But Bryant Marsh sank both his free throws in the final seconds to send Meadowdale home with its sixth straight win.
“We just got over that hump (at mid-season) and then got into a nice little roll at the right time,” Meadowdale coach Chad McGuire said.
Back then, Meadowdale dropped a 36-34 decision in the last meeting between these teams after Kamiak’s Mike Greenlee made the game-winning shot with less than 30 seconds remaining.
Since then, both teams were scorching (Kamiak had won six of seven contests) and playing tremendous defense.
Points are always at a premium when these teams meet. Kamiak gives up just 46 points a game; Meadowdale yields 47.
“I think it’s just two teams that emphasize defense,” McGuire said.
Scoring for Kamiak really was tough to come by when the game’s leading scorer, 6-foot-6 senior post Rahiti Marere (17 points), picked up his fourth foul late in the third quarter. His 4-minute departure resulted in the Knights – who were held scoreless for a 51/2-minute stretch in the first half – managing just two points.
Depth was a factor too, as eight Mavericks scored. On the flip side, Leary had to shorten his rotation in the second half due to an early deficit and thus, just five Knights scored.
“We kind of had to climb back to get back into the game,” he said. “And that kind of took a lot of energy out.”
After trailing 22-14 at halftime, Kamiak opened the second half with an 8-0 run to make for an interesting and highly-competitive final 16 minutes.
At Kamiak H.S.
Meadowdale-Kidanu 10, Marsh 5, Moncrief 8, Rouse 5, Threet 10, Simonson 3, Johnson 2, Surur 1. Kamiak-Bullock 9,Iddins 4, Marere 17, Perry 5, Tarver 4. 3-point goals-Marsh, Simonson, Perry. JV score-Kamiak defeated Meadowdale. Records-Meadowdale 11-7 in league and 13-7 overall. Kamiak-11-7, 12-8.