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BOTHELL — The growing pains of a young team can be long and agonizing. Games like the one Bothell played on Saturday night, however, can go a long way in the development of a playoff-caliber team.

The Cougars’ young guards caught fire from outside during a semifinal matchup in the Bothell Holiday Tournament in a 68-50 win over Edmonds-Woodway.

“It’s huge for my young guys,” Bothell coach Ron Bollinger said. “Games like this are huge, being able to come back from that deficit. We have kind of been giving up leads before this and today we kind of grew. I think it was a really good step. It was the best we’ve played.”

After scoring just eight points in the first quarter, Bothell (6-3) quickly found its stroke from outside the arc. Sophomore Hunter Dean hit a three-pointer, followed by a triple from fellow sophomore Andrew Wilson. Next, it was freshman Josh Kollman’s turn to hit from beyond the arc, and suddenly a 9-0 Bothell run had cut Edmonds-Woodway’s (2-6) lead to 20-17.

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Bothell hit 7 of its 10 three-pointers in the second period to take a 36-31 lead into halftime, one it wouldn’t relinquish.

“If we want to go deep into the playoffs come March, these games right here are what’s going to help us along the way,” senior Josh Martin said. “There’s no other way to get experience than playing games.”

Martin led Bothell with 22 points, while Dean chipped in 17. The Cougars play Ballard on Monday night for the tournament title. Edmonds-Woodway plays Shorecrest on Monday for third place.

Ballard 52, Shorecrest 49

After a slow start, the Beavers made some halftime adjustments and rode a 20-point third quarter to beat the Scots (5-3).

Ballard (6-2) struggled to find good looks in the first half. They led 20-19 at the break, but pounded the ball inside to senior forward Chase Deger in the second half. Deger scored 11 of his 16 points in the third quarter. Nick Brown led the Beavers with 24 points.

Ballard’s man-to-man defense kept the game close in the first half.

“Defensively, I thought we played pretty well all night,” Ballard coach Billy Rodgers said. “We pretty much played man-to-man. We tried to focus on the best one or two players.”

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