MOUNTLAKE TERRACE — A new look Mountlake Terrace boys basketball squad proved that despite losing its top five scorers from last season, the Terrace philosophy of strong team defense can still put wins on the board.
Senior guard Jacob Champoux, the sixth-ranked scorer for the Hawks last season, poured in 28 points as Mountlake Terrace grabbed a 61-45 Western Conference South Division win over Lynnwood Saturday night at Mountlake Terrace High School.
The Hawks (1-0 overall, 1-0 league) pressured Lynnwood (0-2. 0-1) into 24 turnovers and overcame a 17-point, five-block performance from Lynnwood’s Simi Fajemisin.
Fajemisin, a University of San Diego recruit, had 13 points in the first half, but was held to just four after halftime because of foul trouble.
The senior center picked up his third foul with 7:07 remaining in the third quarter and scored just two points for the rest of the contest.
Champoux, who stepped into the leadership role following the departure of a large contingent of Terrace seniors, consistently took on defenders and created good looks at the basket.
Champoux had 15 points at halftime and showcased his defensive side with numerous steals.
“I had good mentors my sophomore year, I had a good couple leaders to show me the ropes,” Champoux said of his preparation for this season.
Mountlake Terrace head coach Nalin Sood said he didn’t discuss the leadership aspect of Champoux’s season much with the senior, adding that Champoux understands what is expected of him and the certain freedoms that come with being a team leader.
“He understands about good shots and bad shots,” Sood said. “He understands his role on this team. … He didn’t have a lot of mistakes today.”
Lynnwood’s Fajemisin, who was handcuffed by foul trouble and had just four points in the team’s season-opening loss versus Sammamish, showed his strength inside by battling through double teams for inside points.
“With Simi, we’d have one or two guys on him and he was still getting stuff done,” Sood said.
Mountlake Terrance’s team defense kept Lynnwood from penetrating and creating easy scoring opportunities.
It’s that defense that Sood and Champoux said is what makes up the central philosophy surrounding the program.
“It’s Terrace basketball,” Champoux said of the Hawks defense, which forced 24 Lynnwood turnovers. Terrace turned the ball over eight times. “Our program preaches defense day in and day out.
“Every game, every minute — it’s the main thing.”
At Mountlake Terrace H.S.
Lynnwood 11 11 8 15 — 45
Mountlake Terrace 16 18 12 15 — 61
Lynnwood—Tamirat 0, Kulej 2, Norde 0, Haney 2, Nut 5, Le 4, Shaw 0, Edwards 8, DeGraw 0, Botts 7, Bowman 0, Fajemisin 17. Mountlake Terrace—Powell 2, Johnson 0, Eftekhari 2, Higgins 6, Champoux 28, Haldane 2, Karels 8, Cano 2, Erickson 4, Swanstrom 2, Snow 5. Records—Lynnwood 0-1 league, 0-2 overall. Mountlake Terrace 1-0, 1-0.