By Quint Turner
Great penetration in the second half was critical to the Meadowdale Mavericks’ success versus a tough Shorewood Thunderbirds team in a loser-out 3A District 1 playoff game Wednesday. The last time the two teams met, Shorewood scored a buzzer beater to win 53-52.
The first quarter set the tone for the very back-and-forth game. Though there were turnovers, there weren’t many breakaways — or easy layups — for either side, and the players had to fight tooth and nail to get baskets. Taylor Freeman of the T-Birds was putting on a display early, scoring eight of Shorewood’s 16 first-quarter points, including two three-pointers. Thanks to Freeman, the T-Birds jumped out to a 16-9 lead on a 9-0 run. Then the Mavs had a 7-0 run of their own to tie the game at 16 at the end of the quarter. Three of those points came on a buzzer-beating three by Spencer Linton.
The Mavs couldn’t sustain the momentum through the second period. After the T-Birds missed three shots, they got four offensive rebounds in a row until Peter Berquist finally hit a layin. While the Mavs got breakaways, they weren’t often able to finish. Meadowdale also shot just 20 percent (5 for 25) from the three-point line. They were down 29-28 at halftime.
After being behind 29-28 at halftime, Meadowdale started heating up in the third quarter. Dooley began scoring consistently after only getting two points in the first, and the entire offense followed suit. The Mavs would take a 41-39 lead to the fourth.
In the final period, the Mavs continued to apply pressure to the T-Birds, who weren’t hitting the big shots. With 1:06 left, Meadowdale was up by one and Dooley took it to the hoop, getting fouled and converting a three-point play. Earlier in the season, the Mavs would have problems with free throw shots, but not in this game. Linton would make three of four late in the game to help seal the victory.
The Mavs will play Mountlake Terrace at 6 p.m. Saturday at Mountlake Terrace High School, with the winner going to state.
Meadowdale scorers: Spencer Linton 15, Matt Hirsch 7, Tyce Tallman 6, Sean Hennesey 5, Torin Dooley 14, Dylan Buck 10, Sam Hong 2
Sports contributor Quint Turner is a student at Meadowdale High School.