Missed free throws cost M-P Tommies big win

EVERETT — The Tomahawk boys basketball team fought tooth and nail against Mariner.

The Marysville players matched Mariner almost shot for shot when the Marauders had a hot hand in the first quarter and were better than 50 percent from three-point range to earn their first lead of the game halfway through the third quarter of the Feb. 17 district tournament game.

But Mariner, who hosted by virtue of their second-place finish in Wesco South, was never far behind, scraping out a few brief leads. The Tomahawks missed a few free throw opportunities in the fourth quarter that might have put the game out of reach. Instead, Mariner post Damascus Purnell got a pass under the basket, scoring to put Mariner ahead 53-52 with six seconds remaining. The Tommies got a shot off inside their court, but missed.

"If we had made some free throws near the end, it would have been a different basketball game," said M-P coach Bary Gould.

M-P seniors Nick Soriano and Troy Toler had a big third quarter for the Tomahawks. The guys combined for four three-pointers in the period — they had a total of six that night — to outscore five Marauder athletes and give Marysville a lead going into the fourth quarter.

For the next five minutes, the teams seesawed back and forth, trading baskets. With a three-point basket, senior guard Ryan Lanphere put Marysville up 50-47. He missed a pair of free throws, but fellow guard Tyler Holm widened the lead to five points with a minute to go.

Mariner closed the gap a little as post Nick Malysheff hit a pair of free throws to bring the game back within three points. Mariner then started fouling for possessions and M-P missed the first basket of two one-and-ones, allowing Mariner to close within one point with 21 seconds left and then score the game-winner.

With four three-pointers, Nick Soriano led the Tomahawks with 16 points, matching Mariner's top scorer Michael Minor. Toler finished with 10 points while Spencer Elwell had about a dozen rebounds for the Tomahawks.

"They didn't have anything to hang their heads about," Gould said after the game. "It's difficult to give everything you got against a team more physical and better than you are, to outplay them and lose like that."

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