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Marysville-Pilchuck Tomahawks can’t pull down win over Lake Stevens | SLIDESHOW

LAKE STEVENS — Marysville-Pilchuck, in search of their first win of the season, visited Lake Stevens on Dec. 20 for a game against a Viking squad fresh off of a 72-70 escape from Arlington and a 17-foot buzzer beater to beat Monroe just a week earlier.

The Tomahawks answered the Vikings’ challenges throughout the game but could not hang with them for four full quarters, fading late for a 58-45 defeat.

“Lake Stevens would have a run and we would have a run,” M-P coach Bary Gould said. “This is the first game where we’ve played good defense for three quarters.”

M-P has played with every team this season, Gould said, but hasn’t put together a full game. With non-conference opponents up next on the schedule, his team can improve their chances to end the season near the top four spots in the Wesco 4A standings.

“Our goal is to play more than 20 games a year, so we’ll keep hoping and working,” Gould said. “This is a really hard-working team. We play hard every day at practice.”

Lake Stevens opened the game with quick steals at halfcourt to open up a 6-0 lead before the Tomahawks called timeout.

The Vikings’ 2-3 zone shuffled side-to-side as M-P looked for open passes on top of the three-point line, but M-P senior guard Terryll Daguison put the Tomahawks on the board with a teardrop runner from the free throw line.

Lake Stevens’ aggression cramped M-P’s offense, but the Tomahawks kept it close as they calmed down, began to rebound and pushed back on defense when the Vikings’ cutters and drivers attacked the basket. Tomahawk junior guard Monnie Williams nailed a three-pointer to help M-P end the first quarter with an 11-10 lead.

The Vikings resettled and got back to their game plan by creating easy fast break layups and regaining the rebounding edge. Lake Stevens senior guard Christian Gasca and crew recovered loose balls and earned trips to the free throw line with quick drives to shake their M-P defenders.

“They brought it the whole time,” Tomahawk freshman guard Michael Painter said. “We shot too many threes and we didn’t bring enough energy. We need enthusiasm and we need to come back and make up for our mistakes.”

Tomahawk senior post Calvin White created for his team by pulling down a defensive rebound and skipping the ball to senior wing Bruce Crawford who buried a three-pointer from the right shoulder. Senior guard Nathan Williams hit a three of his own to pull his team to within two at 23-21.

M-P relied on three-pointers to keep themselves in the game before halftime at which the Vikings led 27-24, but their luck would run out as they finished 3 of 20 from downtown on the night.

“We wanted to go inside and find an open shot instead of an instant three,” Gould said. “A three-pointer after one pass usually doesn’t fall.”

Lake Stevens played airtight man defense and outscored M-P 21-6 in the third quarter. White stepped up for the Tomahawks and made the Vikings use all of their 35 seconds to find a shot on offense, but second-chance put-backs in the key kept Lake Stevens rolling. The Vikings were faster to rebounds and cut off M-P’s lanes to the baseline to make them settle for improvised shots from outside.

Lake Stevens sank a three-pointer from the left shoulder to open up a 38-28 lead and force a Tomahawk timeout midway through the third quarter. Viking junior center Tory Rothgeb feasted on offensive rebounds for lay-in after lay-in and Lake Stevens’ backdoor cuts gashed M-P’s defense.

“We need to work on keeping our energy up and make sure we don’t get down like we did,” M-P sophomore T.J. Rice said.

M-P sought to steady themselves in the fourth quarter and swing the ball inside to find open shooters when Lake Stevens cheated down, but the Vikings called the Tomahawks’ bluff and shut the door on M-P’s dribblers by camping out below the basket. M-P senior post Phillip DeSanctis, however, led Tomahawk scorers with 16 points.

The Tomahawks created a fast break with 2:30 left in the game, but even that layup, symbolic of M-P’s second half, would not fall and Lake Stevens held on to celebrate the 58-45 win.

“On every occasion except the fourth quarter we brought it close,” Gould said. “We played well for three quarters, but Lake Stevens played well for four.”

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