After what Coach Robert Brown called a “sluggish” performance the day before, his Edmonds-Woodway Warriors’ boys basketball squad still looked to be moving a little slow early in their matchup with the Sunnyside Grizzlies on Saturday.
Fortunately for Brown and E-W fans, the team came alive in the second half.
The Warriors fell behind 18-11 after one quarter and trailed by as many as 11 points late in the second period before shaking off their doldrums and coming from behind to claim a 65-60 victory over the Grizzlies in a Mountlake Terrace Holiday Tourney game at Mountlake Terrace High School.
E-W used an 18-6 run over the final two minutes of the second quarter and stretching into the early stages of the third to take its first lead of the game at 41-40. Six Warriors scored for a combined 26 points (compared to just 14 for Sunnyside) in the third period.
The Warriors’ comeback Saturday overshadowed a dismal first half and a Dec. 28 loss to Ballard that Brown was still thinking about after the victory over Sunnyside.
“That first half, it was more of the same funk from yesterday,” the E-W Coach said. “We didn’t play well enough to win (the Ballard) game. We didn’t share the ball well enough, rotate on defense, we didn’t talk well enough.”
Brown saw a big improvement in his team’s play after halftime on Saturday, including contributions from Chinedu Acholonu, Erroll Richards and Colin Whitney. All three scored their only points of the game in the third quarter.
“The way we shared the basketball in the second half was way different than the way we shared the basketball in the first quarter,” Brown explained. “When we share the basketball, players get shots: Nikko (McNeal) gets his shots, Elijah gets his shots; it helps.”
McNeal recorded six of his 12 points (all on long range 3-pointers) in the third.
The squad’s leading scorer, Mutdung Bol, got plenty of shots throughout the game, scoring a game-high 27 points for Edmonds-Woodway.
The Grizzlies, led by the 25 points of sophomore Ethan Copeland, tried make a game out of it in the fourth quarter, cutting the E-W lead to just one point, 57-56, with 4:21 to go. But the Warriors closed out the contest on an 8-3 run to earn the win.
E-W returns to Wesco League action on Friday, Jan. 4, when they host the Snohomish Panthers; tipoff is slated for 7:15 p.m. at Edmonds-Woodway High School.
In other Edmonds-Woodway basketball results, the Lady Warriors closed out their week at the Top of the Peak Tournament at Glacier Peak High School on Saturday with a 74-63 win over the Kentlake Falcons.
The Lady Warriors finished the three-day tournament with one win and two losses.
Prep Boys Basketball: Sunnyside vs. Edmonds-Woodway, Dec. 29 (at MLT Holiday Tourney)
Sunnyside 18 16 14 12 — 60
E-W 11 17 26 11 — 65
Edmonds-Woodway individual scoring: Mutdung Bol 27, Nikko McNeal 12, Nuer Bol 7, Tai Starchman 5, Erroll Richards 4, Colin Whitney 4, Elijah Thomas 3, Chinedu Acholonu 2, Karsen Tjarneberg 1, Tollak Crawford, Bryan Bunyatipanon
Sunnyside individual scoring: Ethan Copeland 25, Derrick Escamilla 14, Daniel Singleterry 12, Alex Lopez 4, Gabe Oswalt 3, Logan Rodriguez 2, Alexis Espinosa, Darion Beeman, Isaiah Isquierdo
Records: Edmonds-Woodway 2-2 in 2A/3A Wesco League, 6-4 overall; Sunnyside 1-2 in 4A Columbia Basin Big 9 Conference, 2-9 overall
Edmonds-Woodway next game: versus Snohomish; Friday, Jan. 4, 7:15 p.m. at Edmonds-Woodway High School
Prep Girls Basketball: Edmonds-Woodway at Top of the Peak Tournament, Dec. 27-29
Chiawana 60 – Edmonds-Woodway 43 (Dec. 27)
WF West 70 – Edmonds-Woodway 57
Edmonds-Woodway 74 – Kentlake 63
Record: Edmonds-Woodway 4-0 in 2A/3A Wesco League, 7-3 overall
Edmonds-Woodway next game: versus Snohomish; Friday, Jan. 4, 7:15 p.m. at Snohomish High School
— By Doug Petrowski