MARYSVILLE — Marysville-Pilchuck sophomore Raequan Battle admits he wasn’t feeling like himself in the first half, but it didn’t matter as he was lights-out in the clutch…double-overtime clutch.
“In the first half I was thinking too much,” Battle said. “So I just cleared my mind.”
Battle had a scoreless first half in M-P’s heated basketball game against rival Arlington, but he came through landing two 3-pointers in double overtime to spark the Tomahawks to a 66-58 win.
But Battle wanted none of the glory. “It was all just trusting my teammates,” he said.
M-P, entering the Wesco 3A game with a conference record of 3-4 to Arlington’s 5-2, ended the first three quarters trailing.
But in the fourth quarter, M-P outscored Arlington 23-19. Battle penetrated the inside and hit free throws. With less than 20 seconds left and M-P ahead 52-51, Arlington sophomore Anthony Whitis missed a free throw after sinking one to tie it at 52-52.
Arlington senior Drew Bryson opened the first overtime with a field goal. Bryson was a formidable shooter throughout the game, landing a game-high five 3-pointers. The Eagles sought ball control to run down the clock. With 1 minute, 50 seconds left, Arlington got a turnover, and again looked to control the ball rather than shoot.
After a Whitis field goal, and Arlington ahead 56-53, M-P took a timeout at 45.5 seconds. Battle came back out and landed a game-tying 3-pointer.
“That was one of our set plays,” Battle said. “We would just fake it to one of our deep-three shooters, and they would just kick it up to me at the top.”
In the second overtime, Battle landed his second and final 3 at the start, and the Tomahawks took off on a game-winning run with Battle again leading the way.
“We hit some good free throws, but Battle is just special,” M-P coach Bary Gould said. “You can’t stop him.”
Battle ended the game with a game-high 26 points.
“Arlington is such a tough program. They do some many good things,” Gould said. “For us to beat them is huge for us.
Gould said he was impressed with his young team’s composure with only one starting senior. With players like freshman Luke Dobler leading M-P with four 3-pointers, and sophomore Josiah Gould second in scoring with 14 points, Gould said it was an all-around team effort.
“Our inexperience showed for us at times at situational stuff,” Gould said. “But we played well enough to win.”
To curb that inexperience, Gould strategically used timeouts in overtime to organize plays.
“Because we lack experience it’s like we have to draw it it up specifically to say, ‘Hey, this is what we have to do offensively and defensively,’” Gould said. “But for those guys to be able to focus on those timeouts in this environment is pretty cool.”