Mavericks falter in fourth quarter against Spartans | Boys basketball

Meadowdale beats Oak Harbor, loses to league leader Marysville-Pilchuck
By David Pan | Jan 17, 2019
Photo by: David R Pan Meadowdale’s Nick Buckley (center) and Oak Harbor’s Haven Brown collide into each other during a Maverick fastbreak opportunity, while Meadowdale Will McKinley races to catch up with his teammate.

Meadowdale weathered the storm.

Stanwood came out firing, sinking seven 3-point shots in the first half. But the Mavericks stayed with the Spartans for the most part and went into halftime trailing only 29-24.

After Stanwood hit a shot to start the third quarter, Meadowdale went on an 11-3 run to take a 35-34 lead midway through the period. The Mavericks weren’t able to sustain the lead and Jake Cleary’s 3-pointer with 1:44 left in the quarter gave the Spartans a 39-37 lead.

Cort Robertson followed with four straight free throws to extend the Spartans’ advantage to 43-37 and the Mavericks missed three free throws to close out the third quarter.

Meadowdale wasn’t able to regain the momentum, as Stanwood outscored the Mavericks 23-8 in the fourth quarter and went on to win 66-45 in a Wesco 3A boys basketball game Friday, Jan. 11, at Meadowdale High School.

Mavericks coach Roger O’Neill described the loss as a missed opportunity.

“We take a 1-point lead midway through the third,” he said. “They go on a run, a big run in the fourth. It was a game that was right there for us if we cut out some mistakes.”

Stanwood outscored Meadowdale by 18 points from 3-point land and the Mavericks struggled at the free throw line. Meadowdale also turned the ball over 18 times.

“I think we were 1-for-13 for the first 13 foul shots, which means it’s going to be hard to win shooting the ball like that,” O’Neill said. “The scoreboard says it’s a 21-point loss. It was a closer game than that. There are a couple of key moments where we make big mistakes and then they stretch their lead. There were mistakes on both sides of the ball.

“You’re minus 18 from the 3-point line and you have 18 turnovers, you can’t win.’

Junior Hunter Moen scored 8 points and a trio of Mavericks – Cole Nelson, Ray Free and Nick Buckley – each had 7 points.

Cleary led Stanwood with 21 points and Robertson added 13. Teammate Mitch Jones had 11 points.

O’Neill said Meadowdale (3-4 in the league, 7-6 overall) knew that the Spartans (6-2, 10-3) had good shooters, who liked to put up 3-pointers.

“We told our guys they’re going to shoot 3s. They’re going to shoot a lot of them,” O’Neill said. “If you’re not there, if we’re not right on our rotations, they’re going to hit a lot of them and that’s what happened. … But it wasn’t the 3-pointers in the second half that hurt. It was turnovers and our inability to score.”

When the Mavericks didn’t turn the ball over, then tended to rush their shots.

“We were a little sloppy in our execution,” O’Neill said. “We’re throwing up shots that might as well be turnovers in some cases.

Two days earlier, the Mavericks put together a better all-around performance against the top team in the league, Marysville-Pilchuck, in a game they lost 53-45 at Marysville-Pilchuck High School.

The two teams were tied midway through the fourth quarter before the Tomahawks pulled away for the victory.

University of Washington-bound RaeQuan Battle scored 26 points to lead Marysville-Pilchuck (8-0, 11-3).

Nelson scored a team-high 14 points and Moen added 11. Buckley had 10 points.

Meadowdale jumped out to a 14-6 lead in the first quarter and were tied at 21 heading into halftime and at 35 after three quarters of play.

“All in all we got to measure ourselves versus two of the best teams in the league on Wednesday and Friday,” O’Neill said. “It’s just that consistency piece. If we play like we did Wednesday (against Marysville-Pilchuck), we can play with anybody in the league. We play like tonight (against Stanwood) with that many mistakes, we can lose to anybody in the league.”

The Mavericks started the week with a solid 62-46 victory over Oak Harbor Monday, Jan. 7, at Meadowdale High School.

Heading into the fourth quarter, Meadowdale led only 44-40 but then outscored the Wildcats (2-5, 4-9) 18-6 in the final period.

“It was a nice win,” O’Neill said. “They battle every single night. They play really hard. It was good to get that win.”

O’Neill noted that players are still adapting to some new roles after the loss of two starters – Colton Walsh and Haben Tekle – to season-ending injuries. The two also were the team’s leading scorers when they went down.

But the Mavericks still have more than enough talented players to compensate for those two key losses, O’Neill said.

“We’re inexperienced in terms of varsity minutes,” he added.

The key to the rest of the season is developing more consistency, O’Neill said, and the way to do that is by working hard at practice.

“I want to be peaking in about three weeks and we’ve got the guys to do it,” O’Neill said. “We’ve got to commit to the details. If we lose this one, but it helps us play our best basketball a month from now, I’m happy.”

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