Mountlake’s Rayshaun Connor drives to the hoop during the 3A quarterfinal game against O’Dea on Thursday, March 2, 2023 in Tacoma, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Mountlake’s Rayshaun Connor drives to the hoop during the 3A quarterfinal game against O’Dea on Thursday, March 2, 2023 in Tacoma, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Terrace boys’ comeback bid falls just short in loss to O’Dea

The Hawks rally from down 20-8 early to have a shot to win, but fall 54-52 in the 3A state quarterfinals.

TACOMA — A shift of gears in the second half almost did the job for the Mountlake Terrace boys basketball team on Day 2 of the Hardwood Classic.

The No. 6 Hawks took No. 5 O’Dea down to the wire with a second-half comeback bid, but in the end it was the Fighting Irish who completed a wire-to-wire 54-52 victory in a Class 3A state quarterfinal game.

Terrace (19-7) will play 10th-seeded Bellevue (23-5) at 12:15 p.m. Friday in a loser-out consolation game. O’Dea will face No. 1 Mt. Spokane at 7:15 p.m. Friday in the semifinals.

With the contest still up in the air in the fourth quarter, junior forward Zaveon Jones scooped in a layup off the glass that brought Terrace the closest it had been since the initial stages at 53-51 with 5.3 seconds left on the clock.

After an intentional foul to pause the time, Irish senior Quincy Linton split his free throws with 4.1 seconds remaining. O’Dea fouled Logan Tews on the floor at mid-court just before the junior point guard could let a prayer up. With 0.5 seconds left, he split his free throws, closing the door on a potential upset.

“You could create a list of a lot of ‘what-ifs,’” longtime Terrace coach Nalin Sood said. “The bottom ‘what-if’ is we didn’t play well enough to get it done tonight. It’s not that we didn’t compete well enough, the kids competed (and) that’s what you ask for. It’s disappointing but not discouraging by any means.”

The Hawks erased an early 20-8 deficit in the second quarter after coming out flat in the opening minutes against a top-tier Irish roster that boasted three players listed at 6-foot-8 or taller.

Jones lit up the stat sheet for the Hawks, scoring a game-high 24 points with 11 rebounds and junior swingman Jaxon Dubiel added 12 points, two steals and two blocks, including a 3-pointer late in the fourth just before fouling out of the contest.

O’Dea senior and Metro League Co-Defender of the Year Mason Williams had 14 points, Linton and Miles Clark each had 10, Amare Jackson had eight, and Noel Davis tacked on seven.

Jones went to work in the second frame, scoring six points in one minute to shave the lead down to five for Terrace. O’Dea countered with an 8-0 run of their own and it went into the locker room ahead 35-21 as Jackson tapped in a second-chance bucket.

A 16-6 third quarter brought the Hawks back into the mix, with a last-second bucket from Jones pulling the Hawks to within two possessions at 41-37.

Terrace couldn’t get over the hump, drawing no closer than two points for the remainder of the game. Dubiel’s fifth foul at the 2:35 mark occurred after drilling his team’s only 3-pointer to bring the Hawks within two at 47-45.

“Everybody comes down here with a dream of winning a state championship,” Sood said. “(Now) our goal is to play on Saturday. So, we still have lots of opportunity. The ball will go up tomorrow at 12:15 and nobody’s gonna be thinking about this game. We’ll regroup. … We’re gonna have to regroup, we have no other alternative.”

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