Meadowdale scored 31 points in the fourth quarter and overcome a 12-point deficit to earn a hard-fought 61-55 road victory against the Everett Seagulls.
After being limited to just four points in the third period, the Mavericks open the fourth with a 19-4 run, highlighted by five 3-pointers, including three from senior guard Nathan Heilpap.
“He’s one of the best shooters in league,” said Maverick coach Roger O’Neil.
“Coaches just told us to keep on shooting and to trust our shots,” said Heilpap. “We can shoot it,” added O’Neil. “Once you attack the inside zone, it makes the outside shots that much easier.”
Trailing by 12, Meadowdale began the final quarter with a Heilpap 3-pointer. Following a pair of free throws by the Seagulls’ Byron Lewellen, Lee Bruemmer knocked down a three and followed it with a jumper, closing the gap to six. Harry White made a pair of free throws and after a foul shot by Everett, the Mavericks scored nine points in 35 seconds on 3-pointers first by White and then back-to-back bombs from Heilpap. With less than half the fourth quarter gone, the Mavs had taken the lead, 50-47.
After a Seagull free throw, Meadowdale scored eight more points to go up 10 with a little more than two minutes remaining. With the Gulls forced to foul, White led a parade of Mavericks in free throws down the stretch and the Mavs held on for the final margin.
“We practice free throws every day,” White said. “Coaches preach to us the importance of them.”
White — the Mav’s leading scorer with 20 points — started quickly for Meadowdale, dropping eight points in the first quarter. At the end of the period, the Mavs held a slim 15-13 lead.
The second quarter started fast for Everett as the Seagulls scored the first six points before a pair of Heilpap 3-pointers would stem the tide. After an Everett basket, two more Mavericks’ long-range threes from Tyree Carson and Mustapha Sonko put the Mavs up by three. Everett’s Chris Bell would score the last points in the second quarter and the Gulls went into the half leading 28-27. Bell led all scorers at the half with 13, while White paced Meadowdale with eight.
The third quarter started promisingly for the Mavericks as White scored first and then following five misses, Heilpap added a bucket and the Mavericks went up 31-28. The rest of the quarter was all Everett as the Seagulls scored the last 15 points of the frame with balanced scoring from five different players.
“It would have been easy to fold when we were down 12,” said O’Neil. “Give our guys credit for fighting back.”
The fourth quarter was ignited by a tenacious Maverick defense that forced countless turnovers, leading to several easy baskets. “It all starts with defense,” said O’Neil. It’s amazing what happens when you get in a groove.
O’Neill praised White’s performance, calling him “a special athlete. When he get’s active, good things happen.”
Bell took game-high honors, scoring 23 for Everett (0-4).
Next up for Meadowdale is the annual “rubber chicken” game this Saturday against Edmonds-Woodway. “They are loaded with talent,” said O’Neil of E-W. “Might be the most talented team in the league. We’re going to do what we do and see what happens.”
Meadowdale 15-12- 4-30-61
Maverick Scoring: Tyree Carson 3, Nathan Heilpap 17, Drew Tingstad 4, Lee Bruemmer 11, Harry White 20, Mustapha Sonko 6, Xavier Meekins, Daniel Barhoum, Zachary Plummer, Zach Walsh
— By Jeff Smarr