Lakewood Cougars finish just one win away from school's first state berth

MOUNT VERNON — The Cougars tried to make one final push for the first state berth in school history, but came up short in a 60-51 loss in the winner-to-state District 1 tournament game against Mount Baker.

But despite missing a chance to go to Yakima, coach Matt Hart couldn't help but feel a sense of pride.

"We've been talking about this group and laying the groundwork since I got here two years ago, and I think I've done that," Hart said.

The Mountaineers took a 28-14 halftime lead March 4 by disrupting the Cougars game.

"They executed their game plan really well," Hart said. "They were able to take Cameron (Fry) out of the game and he is a pretty big part of our offense."

Fry , who averaged nearly 10 points per game this year scored just six against Mount Baker. Leading the Cougars in scoring were junior Tre' Haslom and senior Joseph Hawkins with 11 while senior Nathan Hesselman added 10.

A combination of disrupting Lakewood's offensive flow, and beating the Cougars on the boards ended their season. Mount Baker held the Cougars, who averaged 32 team rebounds per season, to just 13.

This marked the end of a 9-15 season that saw Lakewood basketball take a step forward. Following a 3-17 record in 2009, the Cougars started this season 1-7 before finishing 8-8.

"We talked about it a lot this year that if we just started in the second half, how good would we be?" Hart said. "But winning is a process and you have to believe in each other. It took us a while to get there, but we did. Those programs that we faced like Squalicum and Mount Baker, they just believed in themselves and their system. We're not there yet, but we're on the right track."

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