EVERETT — The Mountlake Terrace High School boys basketball team doesn’t do anything complicated on defense, the Hawks just play a hard-nosed man-to-man defense in the half court. But Occam’s razor states that the simplest solution is usually the best one, and that was certainly the case for Mountlake Terrace on Saturday night.
The Hawks rode their stingy defense all the way to the Class 3A District 1 championship as they defeated the Arlington Eagles 57-34 in the title contest at Everett Community College.
Mountlake Terrace’s defense was on point from the opening tip, as the Hawks held the Eagles to just two points in the first quarter. Arlington trailed by double digits the rest of the way.
“We watch film, we know what they’re going to do,” said Mountlake Terrace’s Jaxon Dubiel, whose three steals played an important role in the defensive effort. “We knew we had to stop (Leyton Martin) and (David Zachman) and we did that. We go man-to-man all day, and that’s something not many teams do. For us to do that, it’s all credit to our coaches for trusting us.”
Dubiel also had 15 points and seven rebounds, and Zaveon Jones added 13 points, 10 boards, four assists and four steals for the top-seeded Hawks (18-5), who repeated as district champs.
“It feels really good,” Dubiel said. “We did it last year, we knew it was going to be a long road back after losing a lot of guys from last year. But we trusted the process, and I think it was our durability and focus today that got us the W.”
Martin had 14 points and 10 rebounds to pace the second-seeded Eagles (18-5).
Both teams already qualified for the state tournament.
Mountlake Terrace and Arlington finished the Wesco season tied for first, with the Hawks earning the top seed based on winning the head-to-head matchup 67-50. Mountlake Terrace served notice early that the final result wouldn’t be any different this time around. The Hawks made everything difficult for the Eagles in the first quarter, holding Arlington to a single basket that didn’t come until just 1 minute, 22 seconds remained in the quarter.
Meanwhile, the Hawks were able to take advantage of their bulk inside, particularly through Svayjeet Singh, as Mountlake Terrace took a 16-2 lead. That 14-point margin carried through the second quarter as it headed to halftime with the Hawks leading 25-11. That lead only ballooned in the third quarter as Jones, who sat out much of the first half with foul trouble, returned to the fray, scoring 11 of his points in the second half as the Hawks pulled away.
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