MARYSVILLE – “Length” is more important than “height” in basketball nowadays.
It’s not just how tall players are, but how long their arms are and how high they can jump. Those attributes combine when playing defense to raise havoc on how a team shoots the ball. Disrupting the arc of a shot makes all the difference in whether it goes in or not.
Two of the three top teams in the Wesco North faced off at Marysville-Pilchuck High School Tuesday night. The squads fought back and forth for three quarters, with visiting Mountlake Terrace ahead by just 44-43. But the Hawks showed their length in the final period, pulling away at the end to win 63-52.
With the win, MLT won the league title, finishing 19-1. M-P dropped to 16-4.
The difference in the game was in the fourth quarter the Hawks extended their defense and with their length M-P’s shooters could not hit any 3’s when they needed to after falling behind; at least a couple of shots were airballs.
On the other side, sophomore Mason Christianson hit a couple of big 3’s for the winners. M-P had success throughout the game driving to the hoop with Josiah Gould, Luke Dobler and Aaron Kalab. But they weren’t always able to finish against the length of the visitors.
Kalab’s drive gave M-P the lead at the start of the fourth period 45-44, but they didn’t score for about three minutes as MLT led 51-47 when Gould drove in for a basket.
MLT standout Khyree Armstead scored inside and finished the 3-point play to put the game away at 57-48 with just a few minutes left in the game. When he assisted on a fastbreak play to Christianson, which likewise led to a 3-point play, that iced the contest.
M-P did hit its 3’s in the first half, as Dobler hit two in the first period, and the Tomahawks took a 16-13 lead.
Dobler and Gould each hit 3’s in the second period, Raequan Battle scored on a fastbreak, and Kalab drove to the basket for a score. But the visitors still managed to tie it up at the break at 33-33.
The teams battled in the third period, with Gould scoring a three-point play, Battle scoring inside and Kaleb making a layup off the fastbreak. But the Hawks took advantage of a technical foul and led 44-43 after three quarters.
Battle led M-P with 16 points, Dobler added 13, Kalab 9, Gould 8, and Kobe Baumann, Corbin Sims and Brady Phelps tallied 2 apiece.
Armstead led MLT with 24 points.