Edmonds-Woodway’s senior Travis Bakken gave the Warriors an early first quarter lead and fellow senior Jason Smarr finished the job in the fourth, lifting E-W to a 71-66 victory over Mount Vernon in the first round of the District 1 playoffs. Bakken scored eight in the first and Smarr 15 in the fourth to seal the win.
The first quarter was a back-and forth affair until Bakken scored the last three baskets of the quarter to put the Warriors ahead after one period, 16-9. In addition to his eight points, Brady Edwards and Tate Budnick each had a three-pointer with Smarr finishing off the quarter with his first basket of the night on a put-back as time expired.
The second period started well for the Warriors. Following a basket by Mount Vernon’s Melvin Walser, E-W would go on a 10-5 run on a pair of jumpers from Smarr, a lay-in by Trey Holland, a free throw by Edwards and a three-pointer from Smarr. Walser would continue his hot streak, scoring four straight baskets for MV, part of a 14-4 run by the Bulldogs to close out the half. Only a bucket from Bakken and a shot as time was winding down by Edwards allowed the Warriors to head to half-time with a narrow lead, 30-28. Bakken led E-W with 10, followed by Smarr with nine and Edwards with six. Walser had 12 to lead Mount Vernon.
The first few minutes of the third quarter saw Mount Vernon continue to make a game of it. Bakken again came out strong for the Warriors, but baskets by Mount Vernon’s Robert Monroe, Payton Frey and Miles Witt kept the Bulldogs in the game. Following a pair of free throws by Smarr, Mount Vernon’s Casey Leek emerged to score three straight baskets inside, giving the Bulldogs the lead 43-40. A baseline jumper from Smarr, a free throw from Antonio Sherrill and a 3-pointer from Budnick put the Warriors back ahead, before a Monroe basket tied the game at 46 to end the third.
As the fourth quarter started, the intensity grew. Smarr started things off with a running banker followed by Budnick’s 3-pointer. Smarr then stole the ball, drove the length of the court and hit Theo Lebesis who converted the basket to finish off a 7-0 run. Witt scored a bucket for MV, then Edwards found Smarr in the corner for a three, putting the Warriors up 56-48. Following a Bulldog timeout, Walser was able to score for MV, but Budnick quickly answered with a runner of his own. Budnick the found Smarr again in the corner and again Smarr connected and after a Bakken bucket, suddenly the home team was up 63-50 with just under four minutes left. “He (Smarr) shot lights out tonight,” said Warrior coach Steve Call. “Tate hit some big threes too.”
Mount Vernon called another timeout, following which Leek scored for the Bulldogs. Smarr again answered for E-W with another three, increasing the lead to 14. Mount Vernon would battle back outscoring E-W 8-2, with the only basket being a Edwards basket from near the top of the key. With 53 seconds left, the Bulldogs used another timeout. Forced to foul, the Bulldogs sent Smarr to the line, who missed his free throw. Mount Vernon was unable to convert on their end and again fouled Smarr who this time made both free throws. A Mount Vernon free throw and a 3-pointer by Witt closed the gap to six. Following another Warrior missed free throw, the Bulldogs’ Leek was blocked not once, but twice by Bakken. Following the rebound, Edwards was fouled and made one, with Walser making a basket in the waning moments for Mount Vernon, leading to the final five-point margin for the Warriors.
The Warriors had 22 assists tonight against only six turnovers. “We took care of the ball tonight, said Call. He also mentioned the defensive intensity and praised Bakken’s defense on the Bulldogs big man, Leek. “Our goal was to shut him down. And for the most part we did.”
Smarr would finish the game with 26 points, five rebounds and three assists. For his effort, he was named the KAPS radio player of the game. Bakken was next with 18 with five rebounds, and 2 blocks of Leek. Budnick had 11 as well as a team high seven assists. Edwards also had 11 along with five assists. E-W’s other point guard Holland, added four assists. Witt led the Bulldogs with 18, followed by Walser’s 15 with Leek and Monroe each adding 12.
With the win, the Warriors advance to the semi-finals of the tournament Saturday against Arlington. The winner of the game is guaranteed a state berth. The loser will still be alive, but has a longer road through the losers bracket. E-W lost a close match earlier this season against the Eagles. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m. at Mountlake Terrace High School. The game will be broadcast live on the Sound Live Sports Network.
Warrior scoring: Holland 2, Edwards 11, Budnick 11, Sherrill 1, Lebesis 2, Smarr 26, Bakken 18
— By Jeff Smarr