Stanwood completed a double-digit comeback in the closing minutes to beat No. 9 Glacier Peak 62-58 and earn a spot in regionals for the first time in three years.
SNOHOMISH — As soon as the game ended and the customary postgame handshakes were finished, Stanwood coach Zach Ward started walking toward the locker room.
But along the way he couldn’t contain his excitement and took off running to celebrate with his team. There was certainly plenty to celebrate.
Stanwood completed a double-digit comeback in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter to beat No. 9 Glacier Peak 62-58 and earn a spot in regionals for the first time in three years.
“I’m just happy for the kids,” Ward said. “It’s so hard because you can tell them what it’s like and talk about experiences you had, but until they witness it, they don’t know what it’s like. And I wanted them to be able to witness it.”
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Stanwood (17-5) trailed by as many 12 in the second half, but the Spartans erased that Glacier Peak (17-5) lead in the fourth quarter. Mason Garcea’s three-pointer with 5 minutes left in the game gave the Spartans their first lead.
Then, three minutes later, Josh Thayer’s layup gave Stanwood a 59-58 lead, and the Spartans wouldn’t trail again. Drew Sears hit two free throws with four seconds left to ice the win.
“We just bought two more weeks of basketball,” said Ward, whose team has won eight straight games. “We’re not ready for this thing to be over with. Things weren’t clicking at the beginning of the year. We’ve come a long way.”
Ward thought his bench was the difference. When shots weren’t falling for Stanwood in the first half and Glacier Peak appeared poised to run away with the game, reserves Ian Zipp and Kurtis Hushagen combined for 13 points to keep the Spartans within striking distance.
Zipp led Stanwood with 16 points while Thayer added 14, including 12 in the second half.
Dreu Vader led Glacier Peak with 21 points.
Mountlake Terrace 64, Oak Harbor 32
Mountlake Terrace (20-2) jumped all over Oak Harbor (12-10), and the Hawks never looked back.
The Hawks led 26-7 at the end of the first quarter and blew the game open in the second quarter. Terrace led 46-11 at halftime, thanks to a 47-percent shooting performance and 13 Oak Harbor turnovers.
“That first 16 minutes, I’m going to have to search really hard to find some mistakes,” Mountlake Terrace coach Nalin Sood said. “I don’t know if I’ll even try. Against a good team, that’s as good of a first half as we’ve played.”
Junior Greg Bowman led the Hawks with 16 points and 15 rebounds, while Marquis Armstead added 14, including 11 in the decisive first half.
It was a thorough domination in the first half, as Oak Harbor struggled shooting the ball (20 percent) and taking care of it. Terrace turned many of Oak Harbor’s mistakes into points on the other end.
“I thought we got a lot of our offense from our defense,” Sood said.
With the win, Terrace clinched a spot in regionals. The Hawks will play Stanwood on Saturday in the Northwest 3A District tournament championship game.
Dayne Herron and Chris Hailer led Oak Harbor with nine points apiece.