LYNNWOOD — There was a point in time when Colton Walsh wasn’t sure if he would keep playing sports.
Meadowdale’s two-sport standout had faced a pair of devastating knee injuries and the rigors of going through rehab on both knees, leaving him contemplating whether or not a return to the Mavericks’ boys basketball and football teams was in the cards his senior year.
Walsh decided to give playing sports another shot, and the Mavericks are certainly glad he did.
The 6-foot-3 senior delivered a career-high 30 points, including 20 in the second half, Friday night as Meadowdale outlasted Edmonds School District rival Edmonds-Woodway 64-53 in a Wesco 3A/2A boys basketball clash in front of a packed house at Meadowdale High School.
“I’ve just had a lot of injuries throughout my life — two surgeries already,” Walsh said. “I’m 17 (years old) now. Two knee tears. It’s not fun, but I can’t just quit. With all my friends it’s just a great experience playing high school sports and I’ll never forget it.”
It was just one of many big performances this season for Walsh, who entered the game as the Mavericks’ leading scorer at 15 points per game and bested his previous career high of 29 set just four weeks ago in a Dec. 27, 2019, win over Bremerton.
“He’s a first-team all-league guy in my opinion,” Meadowdale coach Roger O’Neill said. “I’ve just been dying for him to have a full year healthy. You know he’s gone through so much and you know he’s labeled as injury prone and all this. He’s just a kid that’s had unfortunate break after unfortunate break.
“… It’s one thing to blow out one knee and go through rehab. And then you do it the other knee and go through rehab. It’s like ‘How many people would just quit and throw in the towel?’”
Not Walsh. The Meadowdale forward outscored the entire Warriors squad 10-7 in final period as the Mavericks took control of a tight game between teams that entered the night tied for fourth place in Wesco 3A/2A.
“He was an animal,” O’Neill said of his star senior. “There’s no doubt in our minds or probably (Edmonds-Woodway’s) minds, either, who the ball was going to for us. He’s just that special of an athlete. When we execute and guys give him the ball in the right spot, he’s gonna be tough to stop. He’s so smooth and so strong, and he can finish in a variety of different ways.”
Meadowdale (8-6, 6-3 Wesco 3A/2A) entered the fourth quarter trailing 46-44, but sprinted out to a 51-46 with a 7-0 scoring run to start the period. The Warriors (9-5, 5-3) answered back and tied it at 51-51 on a 3-point shot from standout senior Mutdung Bol midway through the fourth.
But E-W couldn’t muster much else on offense while facing a swarming Meadowdale defense that seemed to be feeding off its raucous home crowd, and the Mavericks closed the game on a 13-2 run to secure the victory.
“The sixth man — Mavs Mob — is one of my favorite things about Meadowdale basketball,” Walsh said. “A great crowd and we get so much support from our school. It’s crazy.”
Mason Vaughn added 16 points and Hunter Moen 13 for the Mavericks, who are just two wins away from securing their first winning season in league play since at least the 2010-2011 season.
“Super pleased with (what happened) just down the stretch,” O’Neill said. “I mean, that’s a formula for success no matter what the game is. … Any game that’s close and you get rebounds and you take care of the ball and execute, it’s pretty hard to lose. And you know we had had struggles throughout the first three quarters in rebounding and taking care of the ball but we were still right there.
“And to see us just systematically go down and execute bucket and execute bucket and grow that lead and then to see our energy in the gym and our defense, once we build a little bit of a lead, that zone’s pretty tough to come back from six on. Just super pleased with our focus and our execution down the stretch.”
Bol finished with a team-high 22 points and Tollak Crawford chipped in 10 for the Warriors.
The game’s first three quarters were a highly contested, back back-and-forth battle. The Warriors’ five-point lead at 22-17 in the second quarter was the contest’s largest point disparity before Meadowdale made its game-clinching scoring run.