MOUNTLAKE TERRACE – Before Friday night’s game, Stanwood coach Zach Ward said his team could use a close, emotional contest.
Ask and you shall receive.
The undefeated No. 6 Spartans, who hadn’t won a WesCo League game by fewer than 15 points this season, got all it could handle from No. 9 Mountlake Terrace in a 63-61 win in front of a raucous crowd at MTHS.
“We need to be in an atmosphere where we were maybe an underdog a little bit — at least even — and to be tested,” Ward said. “Face some adversity (and) let’s see how we can battle through some things.”
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Playing in a tight battle late in a game for the first time this season, Stanwood (15-0) was able to do just enough in a frantic final half-minute to avoid a loss.
Prescott Day’s three-pointer for the Hawks (10-3) cut the Stanwood lead to 62-61 with 35 seconds remaining. After Josh Thayer, who finished with a game-high 27 points, split a pair of free throws with 20 seconds left to widen the lead to 63-61, Mountlake Terrace was unable to tie the score when Isaiah Green’s jumper in the lane rattled out.
Back to the line went Thayer, who missed the front end of a one-and-one to give the Hawks one last chance with 4.9 seconds left.
Matthew Moisant’s long three-point attempt from the right wing was nowhere near the mark, though, and Green’s follow at the buzzer never had a chance.
“It felt like half an hour,” Stanwood senior Drew Stang said of the final seconds.
It was the first time the Spartans trailed at half this season, as Mountlake Terrace carried a 34-31 lead into the intermission.
Greg Bowman and Loren Lacasse led the Hawks with 24 and 23 points, respectively, as the forwards stretched the defense with a solid night shooting from beyond the arc.
“I think it gives us a little more confidence in how good we are, and it gives us a nice little energy boost into the last couple games this season,” Stang said, “and even into the district tournament.”