MOUNTLAKE TERRACE — For the Snohomish County prep basketball connoisseur, Wednesday night’s tilt at Mountlake Terrace High School offered quite the early-season treat — a highlight and circle-the-date-type matchup.
Two of the counties brightest basketball stars — Kamiak’s Carson Tuttle and Mountlake Terrace’s Khyree Armstead — offered the big draw, and as a bonus fans were treated to a thrilling nonleague matchup.
“Seeing those two go at it at the end of the basketball game with good players around them, that’s the best five dollars in town for people I would imagine,” Terrace coach Nalin Sood said. “Where else are you going to see that?”
Returning to the court 24 hours after a season-opening road win, Armstead and his Hawks ended a furious 48 hours of basketball with a perfect record in tact, earning a 63-59 home win over the Knights.
Armstead scored a team-high 17 points, recorded seven rebounds, four assists and mixed in plenty of highlights along the way.
The 6-foot-4 senior forward had a second quarter dunk off a steal, but nothing was more impressive than a fourth-quarter putback slam that left the crowd buzzing.
Armstead missed a 3-pointer from the left wing, but quickly tracked the ball to the hoop. As it bounced high off the rim and backboard, the senior elevated, grabbed the ball and put down a thunderous dunk.
But Armstead received plenty of help. Brendan Hayes added 14 points and Mason Petersen finished with 12 points on four 3s which seem to all come at pivotal moments.
“It’s never one guy,” Armstead said. “Mason had clutch 3s, so if you are focusing on (defending) just one guy you are going to regret that.”
Tuttle didn’t disappoint, either. The senior guard scored a game-high 24 points and had six assists, but cramped up at a critical time late in the fourth quarter. Patrick Olson added 14 points, nine rebounds and three blocks for the Knights.
“Yeah, of course,” said Armstead when asked if he get’s extra excited to face a player the caliber of Tuttle. “I know Carson. I’ve been playing against him for as long as I can remember pretty much. We want to battle each other, we both want to win, we’re competitors. That’s what I like about him.”
Terrace led the majority of the first half and held a 29-24 halftime advantage. The Hawks extended their lead to 38-27 with 4:56 to play in the third quarter when Tuttle started a 13-5 scoring run that trimmed Mountlake Terrace’s lead to 43-40 entering the fourth. Tuttle hit two 3s and Olson drilled one just before the buzzer.
Another triple from Olson with 6:30 to play in the fourth put Kamiak in front 46-45 — the Knights’ first lead since early in the second quarter. Both teams traded buckets the next three minutes until Petersen broke a 54-54 tie with a key 3-pointer.
Two possessions later, Tuttle rose up for a 3, was fouled, landed hard and stayed on the ground. He briefly exited with a leg cramp but missed a critical minute of play before returning with 1:05 to go.
Mason Christianson extended the Hawks’ lead to 61-55, but Tuttle drilled an off-balance 3 with 16 seconds remaining that cut the lead to 61-58. Hayes sealed the game by calmly converting both his free throws after Kamiak was forced to foul.
“It helps playing a game like this in the long run,” Sood said. “It really puts the kid’s backs against the wall. There is no looking past (Kamiak). You are going to get challenged, and fortunately we made some plays at the end to be successful.”