Both the Edmonds-Woodway Warriors, losers of two of their past three games, and the Mountlake Terrace Hawks — just two wins in their last seven outings — desperately wanted to turn their fates around on Wednesday; it was the Hawks that ended up wanting it more.
Scoring the first eight points of the game and never trailing in the contest, Mountlake Terrace turned their fast start — and a strong effort on defense and on the boards — into a victory on Wednesday, stifling the Warriors 65-45 in a Wesco League matchup played at Edmonds-Woodway High School.
The Hawks held Edmonds-Woodway to their lowest offensive output of the season and E-W’s leading scorer, Mutdung Bol, to just six points on 2-for-13 shooting from the field. Bol had been averaging 19.2 points per game going into Wednesday’s contest.
Terrace also out-hustled the Warriors on the boards, grabbing 41 rebounds compared to just 19 for E-W. Sophomore post player Jace Breakfield helped the Hawks dominate the rebounding stats, something E-W Coach Robert Brown feared would happen going into the game.
“We knew it was going to be a struggle,” Brown said. “Jace, that kid, he’s young but he’s really good on the offensive glass. And if we don’t box him out — which we didn’t — then it’s going to be hard. He got a lot of offensive boards; he got six putbacks in the first half and a bunch more in the second half.”
Breakfield led all scorers in the game with 23 points. Teammate Mason Petersen added 20 points for the Hawks.
The 65 points scored as a team was the most for Terrace in almost two weeks, a stretch that included a three-game losing streak in which the team averaged just 44 points per game. Brown acknowledged that his squad’s defensive effort was poor, giving Terrace the opportunity to get back on track offensively.
“You have to decide you want to guard people,” Brown said. “We haven’t made that decision collectively as a team.”
Conversely, Terrace Coach Nalin Sood praised his team for their work on the defensive end of the court.
“We did a good job defensively holding them to 45 points, and that’s a credit to the kids,” Sood said.
E-W was led in scoring by Chinedu Acholonu with 11 points; no other Warriors reached double figures. The team as a whole was held to just 20 points in the second half.
For Terrace, the win helped erase some of the memories of an 18-point loss to Shorecrest on Jan. 16, a heart-wrenching buzzer-beater defeat at the hands of Lynnwood on Jan. 18 and scoring just 38 in a loss to Kelso on Jan. 21. And while the past two weeks have been tough, Sood is looking to make the most of it for his team.
“You can look at it two ways: demoralizing, disappointing, distraught or as a learning lesson,” he said. “We’ll only know if it’s a learning lesson in about two weeks (the start of the postseason).”
The Hawks will next travel to Duvall for a Friday, Jan. 25, regular-season matchup with the Cedarcrest Red Wolves. The Warriors head to Lynnwood on Friday for another rivalry clash, this time against the Royals.
Prep Boys Basketball: Mountlake Terrace at Edmonds-Woodway, Jan. 23
Mountlake Terrace 15 20 19 11 — 65
Edmonds-Woodway 9 16 8 12 — 45
Mountlake Terrace individual scoring: Jace Breakfield 23, Mason Petersen 20, Jeffrey Anyimah 6, Mason Christianson 5, Bradey Blackmer 4, JesseJames Martineau 4, Robbie Baringer 2, Trazz Pepper 1, Trevor Leen
Edmonds-Woodway individual scoring: Chinedu Acholonu 11, EJ Thomas 9, Nikko McNeal 9, Erroll Richards 7, Mutdong Bol 6, Karsen Tjarneberg 3, Tai Starchman, Nuer Bol, Colin Whitney, Tollak Crawford
Records: Mountlake Terrace 6-4 in 2A/3A Wesco League, 11-5 overall; Edmonds-Woodway 5-5 in 2A/3A Wesco League, 9-7 overall
Mountlake Terrace next game: versus Cedarcrest; Friday, Jan. 25; 7:15 p.m. at Cedarcrest High School
Edmonds-Woodway next game: versus Lynnwood; Friday, Jan. 25; 5:40 p.m. at Lynnwood High School
— By Doug Petrowski