Executing on the offensive end of the court almost flawlessly during the final four-and-a-half minutes, the Warriors pulled away and defeated the defending 3A state champion Nathan Hale Raiders 73-62 Thursday afternoon at Mountlake Terrace High School.
Edmonds-Woodway outscored the Raiders 16-6 during the late stages of the clash to earn the victory.
Coming into Thursday’s contest, E-W had loss three of its last four games. Thursday’s triumph led to an enthusiastic Warrior locker room after the final buzzer.
“We wanted this,” said E-W Coach Robert Brown. “For us to win this game was big; they were really excited about it.”
The Warriors may have gotten not only a win from the contest, but some much-needed confidence and experience.
Coming out of a timeout with 3:54 to go in the game, possession of the ball and a slim 61-58 lead, the Warriors were surprised by the Raiders’ zone defense. But from the sidelines Brown encouraged his squad to slow down and look for a quality shot, not necessarily the first available one.
“Early in the shot clock one of the guys could have been, ‘oh, I’m kind of open; I’m going to jack one up,’” Brown recalled. “But we settled down, pulled it back all the way out, and we ended up shooting with about seven seconds left (in the shot clock) and made a 3.”
It was the Warriors’ Michael Epoch who drained a three-pointer from the right side; the senior then added two free throws a minute later to give E-W a 66-58 lead and the momentum to finish off the Raiders for the win.
Brown said the team showed a lot of maturity in the fourth quarter and hopes it will benefit them throughout the rest of the season.
“I told them this was big,” Brown said of his postgame locker address to the team. “This is a time they can reach back mentally and say remember when we did this. This is all we have to do.”
“I’m proud of what they did,” he added.
Epoch scored nine of his 20 points for E-W in the final quarter. Sophomore Mutdung Boi led the squad with 22 points while Noah Becker contributed 14 points and Kameron Eck chipped in 11 points.
Nathan Hale’s Freddy Brown III led all scorers with 31 points, but was the only Raider to reach double-figures in scoring. Brown is one of only three players back for Nathan Hale from the squad that went 29-0 and won the 3A state championship last year.
The Warriors (6-3) will be back on the court Friday, Dec. 29, to open the final day of the 2017 Mountlake Terrace Holiday Tournament when they face the Sunnyside Grizzlies; tip-off is set for 3 p.m.
Prep Boys Basketball: Edmonds-Woodway vs. Nathan Hale, Dec. 28
Edmonds-Woodway 12 20 26 15 — 73
Nathan Hale 12 18 21 11 — 62
Edmonds-Woodway scoring: Mutdung Boi 22, Michael Epoch 20, Noah Becker 14, Kameron Eck 11, Erroll Richards 5, Tollak Crawford 1, Brian Bunyatipanon
Nathan Hale scoring: Freddy Brown III 31, Gokhon Ozkan 6, Quusaa Margarsa 5, Dempsey Hope-Wright 5, John Hart III 4, Carter Petro 4, Fuat Farisogia 3, Khepra Mims 2, Allay Sarrhini 2, Eziafa Okocha
Records: Edmonds-Woodway 1-1 in 2A/3A Wesco League, 6-3 overall; Nathan Hale 0-4 in 3A Metro League, 0-7 overall
Edmonds-Woodway next game: versus Sunnyside, Friday, Dec. 29, 3 p.m. at Mountlake Terrace High School
— By Doug Petrowski
Mountlake Terrace Holiday Tournament, boys’ scores from Day 3 (Thursday, Dec. 28)
Edmonds-Woodway 73 – Nathan Hale 61
Sunnyside 66 – Sehome 59
Ballard 40 – Ferndale 59
Mountlake Terrace 72 – Auburn Mountainview 35
Mountlake Terrace Holiday Tournament Day 4 schedule, (Friday, Dec. 29)
3:00 p.m. — Edmonds-Woodway vs. Sunnyside
4:30 p.m. — Sehome vs. Nathan Hale
6:00 p.m. — Auburn Mountainview vs. Ballard
7:30 p.m. — Mountlake Terrace vs. Ferndale