They say defense wins championships.
If that’s true, look out for Marysville-Pilchuck.
The Tomahawks boys basketball team used a tight, in-your-face, man-to-man defense, not allowing Arlington’s normally high-flying Eagles to ever take off, in winning the District 1 3A Championship 65-47 last Saturday at Everett Community College.
Along with that, M-P standout RaeQuan Battle, who led both teams with 28 points, showed not only can he rebound, dunk and shoot 3’s from NBA territory – he also can pass really well. At the end of the first quarter he tossed a bounce pass from half-court to Aaron Kalab, who was streaking down the floor for a fastbreak layup. And in the third quarter, from the top of the key, he threw a bullet to Cameron Stordahl under the bucket, who was tightly covered but still put it in for two points.
The game was close until a six-minute span in the third quarter when M-P’s defense shut out Arlington while going on a 13-0 run.
Arlington scored twice in the opening minute to cut M-P’s lead to 28-24 before Stordahl started the onslaught with a fastbreak bucket. Battle followed rebounding a missed shot and dunking it all in one motion. Luke Dobler connected on two 3’s, celebrating by pointing to the M-P student section. Battle then connected on a 3 before his assist to Stordahl, making it 43-24. Griffin Gordoski stopped the bleeding, scoring with 36 seconds left in the quarter. But then Battle added insult to injury connecting from deep in the corner for 3 at the buzzer, putting the game out of reach at 46-26.
In the last quarter, Battle hit three more 3’s, Kalab scored twice inside and Alec Jones-Smith came off the bench to add scoring as the lead mounted to 65-35. Both teams cleared their benches, and Arlington scored the last 12 points, led by the shooting of freshman guard Ethan Martin, to make the score more respectable.
Arlington actually led early in the game on a 3-pointer by Josh Gutierrez and an inside bucket by Ayodele Aribibola. M-P didn’t get on the board until the 3:46 mark when Battle scored inside. Tied 12-12 after one, M-P tallied the first eight points of the second period on 3’s by Dobler and Battle and a bucket after grabbing an offensive board by Ethan Jackson. Anthony Whitis brought the Eagles back to within 26-20 at the half with a layup and a 3.
M—P’s boys qualified for the title game with an easy 80-50 win over Stanwood Friday.
Battle scored a game-high 27 points, Stordahl chipped in 15 and Dobler had 11. Other scorers: Kalab 9, T.J. Severn 7, Treven Southard 6, Parker Devereux and Jackson 2 each, and Brady Phelps 1.
Arlington’s boys advanced to the final with a 65-52 win over Marysville Getchell.
The Chargers played it close every quarter, but the Eagles clinched the win outscoring the visitors 16-9 in the final period.
For the winners, Gardoski led the way with 28 points, and Gutierrez added 26, while standout guard Whitis was held to 1.
Other scoring, Will Abram had 5, Martin 3 and Aribibola 2.
For the Chargers, Malakhi Knight and Josiah Koellmer led the way with 20 and 19 points. Other scoring: Mejinta Adams-Taylor 4, Dylan Rice 3 and with 2 apiece Caleb Koellmer, Lul William and Chase Showalter.
Meanwhile, MG fell one victory short of its first-ever state bid in boys basketball with a 63-49 loss to Shorecrest Saturday at EvCC.
The first half was a defensive battle, with the Chargers trailing only 20-16. It was still 40-35 after three periods. But Shorecrest outscored MG 23-14 in the final period to take the game.
Sophomore guard Josiah Koellmer’s 18 points led the Chargers. Knight added 12 and Showalter 11. Other scoring: Jesse Donk 5, Caleb Koellmer 2 and William 1.
Meanwhile, Arlington’s defense controlled the game in the boys’ 54-42 win over Squalicum Thursday.
Gutierrez had 18 points and Whitis scored 16 for the Eagles. Aribibola played his first game of the season after recovering from a broken kneecap and scored 2 points.
Other scoring: Abram 8, Gardoski 6 and with 2 each Caden Smith and Michael Tsoukalas.