STANWOOD — All those hours shooting free throws during practice and in the driveway during the offseason paid dividends for Matt Beucherie.
Beucherie, a 6-foot senior guard for Meadowdale drained two free throws with four-tenths of a second remaining to seal a 55-54 non-conference win for the Mavericks over Stanwood Thursday night at Stanwood High School.
“I was trying to block out the noise, but it was too loud in there,” Beucherie said. The senior finished with six points and was tripped up by Stanwood (0-2 overall) guard Drew Haugstad while driving to the hoop with 0.4 seconds on the clock and the Spartans ahead 54-53. “I was just looking at the front of the rim the whole time trying not to think about it (the crowd), but it’s really tough when it’s that loud in there.”
Stanwood 6-foot-4 senior forward Zack Johnson put the Spartans ahead with a left-handed leaner in the key with seven seconds remaining.
Meadowdale (1-0) tried to inbound the ball quickly, but a 30-second timeout was called from the Mavericks’ bench which left the team with an inbound pass under Stanwood’s basket with five seconds on the clock.
“We weren’t going to call timeout, we were just going to go straight at the hoop,” Beucherie said. “…We just had to wing it.”
Beucherie took a pass in the backcourt and started to drive, but was fouled inside the 3-point line.
“I was going to just try to do a little floater, but they tripped me at the end,” Beucherie said.
Stanwood took a 48-46 lead in the see-saw fourth quarter following a corner 3-pointer from senior Kale Schmidt.
Schmidt had a game-high 19 points for the Spartans, including eight points in the fourth quarter.
Johnson had 18 points and was dominant on the glass against Meadowdale, which was missing 6-foot-7 Connor Hamlett and 6-foot-5 Dillon Sand with illnesses.
For the second game in a row, foul trouble mounted for Stanwood. Meadowdale shot 16 free throws in the second half, converting 10 including the game-winners.
“We shoot a lot of free throws in the offseason and a lot in practice,” Beucherie said, adding that he had only been in position to win the game from the stripe once in his career. “Once freshman year, I missed them then, but I got them back this time.”
Stanwood battled back from a nine-point deficit in the first quarter to go into halftime down four points, 26-22.
The Spartans grabbed the lead with 3:35 remaining in the third quarter on a Zack Johnson basket, but Meadowdale stayed close and senior guard Sam Werner scored six points in 46 seconds to give the Mavericks a 53-52 lead with 17 seconds remaining.
Werner, a strong 6-footer who finished with 16 points, missed all of last season with a foot injury, and came up with a clutch steal at half-court with 51 seconds remaining to pull Meadowdale to within one, 52-51.
“He’ll do anything to win the game,” Meadowdale head coach Chad McGuire said.
Despite missing its two biggest post players, Meadowdale was strong on the offensive boards.
“We rebounded really well especially in the first half, I thought that was one of the keys to the win,” McGuire said. “Even though we didn’t have all our height we still rebounded well.
“To come up here and win, it’s a good win,” McGuire said.
At Stanwood H.S.
Meadowdale—Neff-Warner 14, Werner 16, Beucherie 6, Tallman 4, Dooley 8, Buck 7. Stanwood—Jamieson 0, Haugstad 7, Schmidt 19, Cook 4, Schroyer 6, Johnson 18. Records—Meadowdale 1-0 overall. Stanwood 0-2.