EDMONDS — Jaw-dropping dunks, freakishly-athletic chase-down blocks and a game-winning basket. That’s quite a night for anyone, yet it only begins to describe the brilliance of RaeQuan Battle’s Friday evening at Edmonds-Woodway High School.
The University of Washington signee poured in 43 of his team’s 55 points to go with a game-high 19 rebounds and carried Marysville Pilchuck to a dramatic 55-53 Wesco 3A win over Edmonds-Woodway.
“I really didn’t take over,” Battle said. “It’s really our offense. I forced a couple shots on my own, but it’s really our offense that creates for me and gets me open whenever they can.”
After scoring 16 fourth-quarter points, there was no secret in whose hands MP coach Bary Gould was putting the ball with the game tied and six seconds left on the clock.
Battle worked off a screen to get open in the backcourt, quickly worked his way down the right side, split two defenders near the free-throw line and made an uncontested layup at the buzzer to seal an incredible comeback win.
“Anytime anyone asks me about RaeQuan, the basketball stuff there isn’t really anything that shocks me,” Gould said. “… He’s a really special kid, a special human being and by the way a pretty good basketball player, too.”
Battled dazzled all night with a collection of dunks that included a fastbreak windmill, an emphatic one-handed putback and several of the two-hand variety. His final line was 43 points, 19 rebounds, four steals and three blocks.
But for of Battle’s impressive play, Edmonds-Woodway led nearly the entire game and featured its own star in Mutdung Bol. The long, athletic 6-foot-3 junior finished with a team-high 25 points and had five steals to go with a few of his own dunks.
The Warriors’ continuous fullcourt defensive pressure caused 21 turnovers for Marysville Pilchuck (3-3, 2-0 Wesco 3A), which was without its starting point guard in junior Luke Dobler.
Bol’s 12 first-quarter points helped Edmonds-Woodway (2-3, 0-2) build a 22-12 lead heading into the second, and the Warriors entered the fourth leading 44-34.
A 3-pointer from Bol with 6:50 to play extended the lead to 49-36 before Battle took over.
Outside a pair of free throws from the Tomahawks’ Aaron Kalab, Battle scored 17 of MP’s final 19 points. Bol fouled out with 55 seconds remaining, and with the Warriors down 53-50, Nuer Bol made a triple to set up Battle’s late winner.
“We could have fallen out at any moment,” Battle said. “They could have went up by 20, 25. They could have pushed the lead, pushed the lead, but we stayed the course, calmed down and just played our own game.
Marysville Pilchuck (3-3, 2-0 Wesco 3A) earned its second straight win and has gotten off to a strong start in league play. The win, especially in the dramatic fashion in which it came, will benefit MP as its looks to repeat as district champions.
Edmonds-Woodway (2-3, 0-2) was impressive in the narrow loss, and the Bol brothers, Mutdung and Nuer, will be tough for Wesco teams to slow down this winter.
RaeQuan Battle, Marysville Pilchuck — Battle scored a game-high 43 points to go with 19 rebounds, four steals and three blocks. Add another chapter to what’s already an impressive career for the senior.
Mutdung Bol, Edmonds-Woodway — Bol and Battle separated themselves Friday with their outstanding athleticism and length. Although Battle came away with the win, Bol presented an entertaining matchup with Battle. Bol finished with a team-high 25 points and five steals.
“What a cool environment on a Friday night. They got their money’s worth. That’s for sure,” -Marysville Pilchuck coach Bary Gould.