ARLINGTON — Friday’s win meant a lot for the Mountlake Terrace boys basketball team.
Not only did the Hawks edge Arlington 69-67, but Mountlake Terrace won the fourth quarter, outscoring the Eagles 20-19 in the final period. That means the Hawks won’t have to run at the start of their next practice.
“That’s probably only the second fourth quarter we’ve won this season, Mountlake Terrace guard Mason Christianson said.”It pays off working on defense. Everything our team did really paid off.”
A main component in the Hawks’ (6-0, 3-0 Wesco 3A) victory was the play of Christianson — the junior scored 11 of Mountlake Terrace’s 20 points in the fourth quarter. Christianson finished with 28 points, four assists, four steals and four rebounds while committing just three turnovers.
“I thought he did a good job,” Hawks coach Nalin Sood said. “You really have to give him credit because he was guarding one of their best players, (Anthony) Whitis, and I thought worked him pretty hard.”
With Mountlake Terrace leading 49-48 at the start of the fourth quarter, Christianson hit a shot, but a three-point play from Arlington senior Josh Gutierrez tied the game at 51-51.
The two teams exchanged misses, but Christianson buried a 3-pointer with 6 minutes, 1 second remaining to hand the Hawks a three-point lead and tacked on a pair of free throws and split a one-and-one to extend the Hawks’ lead to six.
Gutierrez was fouled while driving to the basket and missed the extra foul shot, but Michael Tsoukalas grabbed an offensive rebound and fed Gutierrez behind the arc, and the senior wing drilled a shot to cut Mountlake Terrace’s lead to 57-56. Griffin Gardowski and Gutierrez each sunk a foul shot to provide the Eagles a 58-57 lead with 2:57 left to play.
After the Hawks and Arlington traded buckets, Christianson made a 3-pointer from the top of the arc to put the Hawks up 62-60, a lead they would not relinquish.
An intentional foul called on the Eagles with 10.1 seconds left led to a free throw by Christianson to help seal Mountlake Terrace’s victory.
“We had a couple mental lapses at the end of the game, and that’s on me,” Arlington head coach Nick Brown said. “We just have to prepare better. There were some things (that) we did where we just weren’t in the right spots, but they beat us. I say, ‘Sometimes you lose games or you get beat,’ and they beat us. Hats off to them.”
The Hawks jumped out to an early 10-2 lead and kept the Eagles (6-3, 3-1) at bay in the first half, taking a 45-37 lead into halftime. Arlington dialed up more pressure and outscored Mountlake Terrace 13-7 in the third quarter.
Jace Breakfield was a large contributor to the Hawks’ first-half performance. He scored 13 of his 21 pointsin the first half, including Mountlake Terrace’s first eight of the game.
The Eagles gave Breakfield ample space on his outside shot in the first quarter, and the 6-foot-6 sophomore post made them pay.
“It was huge,” Christianson said. “People have been playing off him a lot this season, so the whole week last week in practice he was working on his 3 because we knew Arlington was going to do that. (It) paid off big.”
Breakfield is a key piece for the Hawks moving forward, according to Sood.
“Jace is one of those big guys that has (good) feet so he can do some pivoting stuff down in the paint and square up when he gets some good looks,” Sood said. “He’s working at it. He’s a young guy. There was a part in the third quarter where we all thought he could have asserted himself more, and he made a commitment that he would. Jace can be whatever he wants to be.”
Gutierrez led all scorers with 30 points, and Whitis scored 20 for the Eagles.