Prep boys basketball: Mavs stun Jackson in come-from-behind thriller

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Last week, the 2018-2019 season got off to a rough start for the Meadowdale Mavericks boys basketball team with back-to-back losses. Since then, they have won three in a row, capped off Friday night with a thrilling come-from-behind 49-47 victory against the 4A Jackson Timberwolves in The Stable at Meadowdale High School

The visiting Timberwolves came into the contest as one of the favorites to win the 4A Wesco conference, and ranked No. 9 in the preseason Washington State 4A poll put out last week by The Seattle Times. The Wolves were looking to rebound after a tough loss to the Wesco 3A favorite Marysville-Pilchuck on Wednesday.

Jackson controlled much of the momentum in the first half, leading 31-24 in the waning seconds. Then, a desperation half-court heave from Meadowdale sophomore Cole Nelson was caught and tipped in at the buzzer by Nick Buckley to pull the Mavs to within five going into half time.

Those two points would prove to be crucial.

The Mavericks came out of the break and played a near-perfect half of basketball, outscoring the Timberwolves 23-16 in the final two quarters to cap off the victory.

With 1:42 to play, Jackson clung to a one-point lead, 45-44, when Buckley went to work on the boards again, tipping in a high rebound into the hoop over the back of Jackson guard Ben Olesen. That gave the Mavs the lead, 46-45.

Cole Nelson’s two clutch free throws with 29 seconds on the clock extended the Meadowdale lead to three, 48-45,  its largest lead of the game.

Wolves sharpshooting guard Christian Liddell had an open look from three-point territory that rattled out, but he was fouled on the shot, awarding him three free throws with just 4.4 seconds to play.

Liddell made the first two but missed the third and tying shot, forcing Jackson to foul Haben Tekle with 1.9 seconds left.

Tekle made the first free throw and missed the second, setting up one desperation shot from the Timberwolves that would fall short, ending the game.

“The message in our first two games against Burlington-Edison and Mariner was that we didn’t have the varsity moment to moment focus,” said Meadowale head coach Roger O’Neill. “We had too many mental lapses. Too many silly turnovers.  But tonight, we put moment after moment together. The focus from everyone on the court and on the bench, we just didn’t take a play off down the stretch tonight,” he added.

“Obviously, there’s room to improve, but that is one heck of a basketball team in Jackson,” O’Neill continued. “I’d be surprised if they don’t end up at least at regionals in 4A. We had a great crowd tonight, good environment, and our guys just really stepped up tonight and showed us all what we knew they were capable of.”

Next up for Meadowdale is the beginning of Wesco 3A league play Wednesday night, Dec. 12, when they will welcome the Snohomish Panthers into The Stable. That game will tip off at 7:15 p.m. at Meadowdale High School.

Boys Basketball: Jackson at Meadowdale, December 7, 2018

Jackson                 15    16      9     7   – 47

Meadowdale     14    12     10    13 – 49

Jackson scoring: Kyle Bigovich 14, Christian Liddell 10, Jaylen Searles 9, Ben Olesen 6, Jesse Hoiby 3, Joe Capponi 3, Kevin Han 2

Meadowdale scoring: Colton Walsh 15, Cole Nelson 12, Hunter Moen 8, Haben Tekle 7, Nick Buckley 6, Ray Free 1

Records: Jackson 0-0 Conference, 2-2 overall;  Meadowdale 0-0 Conference, 3-2 overall

Jackson’s next game: versus Lake Stevens, Dec. 12, 7:15 p.m. at Lake Stevens High School

Meadowdale’s next game: versus Snohomish, Dec. 12, 7:15 p.m. at Meadowdale High School

— Story and photos by Scott Williams

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