It wasn’t the Olympics, but Viking boys and girls brought home the equivalent of gold medals in last Saturday’s District Tournament at Jackson High School in Mill Creek.
The boys, in yet another classic shootout with Stanwood, prevailed 74-71 in overtime to secure its first basketball District Championship since 1967.
The girls expanded their turnaround season (1-4 at the start, but now winners of 17 of their last 18) by taking down Marysville 60-55.
A near-capacity house witnessed the doubleheader and were treated to two thrilling, well-played games, worthy championship fare.
Lake boys 74 Stanwood 71 (Overtime) Lake and Stanwood, co-champions of Wesco North, who split a pair of thrillers earlier this season, went full throttle at each other in what turned out to be a brilliantly-played game highlighted by superstar performances by Lake’s Shane Kaska and Stanwood’s Zack Johnson.
Kaska’s line was 35 points, three assists, nine rebounds and a blocked shot. And he managed to play out the full game despite drawing his fourth foul with 5:16 left in the fourth quarter (at which point Lake led by 56-54). Johnson scored 32 points and hauled in 22 rebounds (10 of them on the offensive end).
Both players scored 21 points after halftime, and 16 of Johnson’s rebounds came during that time frame. Unlike Lake’s semifinal District game versus Jackson, where it fell behind by 22 points in the first quarter, this time it was Lake threatening to make it a blowout, bursting out to a 21-8 lead after the first eight minutes. Arvid Isaksen jump-started Lake with two early threes, and Kaska, Jarrett Hanson and Mike Schneider also added a pair of field goals each, while A.J. Maw had one basket in the opening period, as Lake shot nine for 16 (including three of five threes).
Stanwood, meanwhile, frustrated by Lake’s zone defense and double (and even triple) teaming of Johnson, made just two of 15 shots in the first quarter (including one of eight threes).
But the Spartans turned that around quickly in the second quarter, in which both their inside and outside games heated up. Stanwood made 10 of 15 second quarter shots (including four of six threes) with Johnson scoring seven points and Kale Schmidt’s trio of threes highlighting his 11-point quarter.
Kaska’s nine points in the quarter helped his team stay on top by 38-34 at halftime. Johnson opened the third quarter with a lay-in followed by Brock Reinecke’s three to give Stanwood its first lead of the game, 39-38. After that, neither team could shake the other until the very end of the game.
Five Johnson lay-ins in the third quarter, two of them on put-backs, equaled a 49-47 lead for the Spartans after three quarters, as Lake made just one of its last 10 shots of the quarter (a rebound basket by Jerodan Dodge). Schmidt, only 6-3 but ox-strong, couldn’t be stopped in the fourth quarter either, as he bulled his way to another four baskets in heavy traffic, two of them put-backs.
A key point in the game came when Kaska fouled Johnson with 5:16 remaining (Kaska’s fourth foul, with Viking coach Mark Hein choosing not to send him to the bench). Johnson made the first of two free throws to cut Lake’s lead to 56-55, then snared the rebound on the second shot and put it back into the basket for a 57-56 lead, also being fouled on that shot.
Significantly, Johnson missed the subsequent free throw, with Lake rebounding. Free throws were to play a major factor in the game, with Lake finishing with 15 of 19 and Stanwood just nine of 21. Another Johnson basket upped the lead to 59-56 before Kaska fed Schneider for a lay-in to pare that to 59-58 with three minutes left.
Lake tied the game at 59-all with 2:04 left when Kaska made one of two free throws. Johnson’s lay-in with 25 seconds left put Stanwood ahead 61-59 but Kaska’s short flip hook (his specialty shot) re-tied it at 61-61 at the 11-second mark.
Stanwood tried a bit of trickery for its final shot. Expecting Johnson, or either of Stanwood’s hot-shooting guards, Schmidt or Drew Haugstad, to have the ball at the end, non-shooting guard Austin Cook instead drove the length of the court. That backfired when Cook lost control out of bounds under the Stanwood hoop with four seconds left. Schneider then drove into the upper key area where his shot at the buzzer danced off the rim. Maw started off the overtime with a lay-in and as it turned out Lake was never to trail again, though it wasn’t over until the final buzzer (a fraction past the final buzzer, as it turned out).
Baskets by Kaska at 2:30 and 1:10 gave Lake leads of three and four points respectively. But it was at the line where the Vikings prevailed.
Schneider made two of two and Kaska five of six (including four in a row in the final twenty seconds). Last-gasp threes by Haugstad with 21 seconds and six seconds left cut Lake leads to 70-68 and 72-71, but Kaska answered with his free throws each time.
Kaska’s final two free throws with five seconds to go made it 74-71 and left Stanwood with one last gasp, but when Haugstad, surrounded by Vikings, couldn’t get off a three he tossed to Schmidt (who had beaten Lake with a last-ditch three in the team’s previous meeting) but time expired a split second before Schmidt’s attempted three left his hand––that was significant because he appeared to be fouled on the shot, which missed the mark by a wide margin.
Despite Johnson’s fabulous show Lake finished with a 43-42 rebounding edge, topped by Maw’s 13 and Schneider’s 10 boards. Maw also contributed 10 points and seven assists, while Schneider had 12 points and five assists. Isaksen had seven points, four assists, four rebounds. Hanson had eight points and five rebounds.
Lake made 27 of 67 field goals (including five of 20 threes) for 40 percent, Stanwood made 27 of 62 field goals (including eight of 24 threes) for 44 percent.
Despite its intensity, this was a crisply-played game with few errors. Lake committed just nine turnovers, Stanwood 12. Schmidt finished with 20 points for the Spartans, Haugstad 10. Kaska, one of the top players in Viking history, surpassed the 1000 point total for his career during the game.
Lake girls 60 Marysville 55 Lake beat Marysville (co-Wesco North league champs with Monroe) for the second time in three tries and this was the big one, for the District championship. The Vikings once again got the job done without any superstars, but with balance, teamwork, intelligent coaching and timely play in key situations.
Significantly, Lake took care of the ball. After a shaky first quarter in which it committed six turnovers, Lake surrendered the ball just six times for the remainder of the game (Marysville was flagged with 20 miscues). Viking guard Corinne Burke was one of the keys to victory, with six assists, just three turnovers, and six of six free throws in the game’s final 1:13, turning back a serious Marysville comeback.
At first, it looked like Marysville’s inside tandem of Emily Enberg and Hannah Watson might be too much for the Vikings to handle. They powered the Toms to an early 13-9 lead (trimmed to 14-12 at the quarter break on Sam Peterson’s three).
But a pair of threes by Stephanie Schumacher and another by Katie Goddard sparked Lake to a 27-all tie at halftime. Dacia Heckendorf’s three-point play gave Marysville a 36-33 lead with 3:20 remaining in the third quarter, but Lake responded with an 11-point run to take the lead for good. Lake loves playing on this floor. In its District opening game versus Jackson the Vikings ran off 24 consecutive points to close out the first half en route to a 52-34 win.
This time the run began with Schumacher’s game-tying three, and baskets by Kayla Bostwick, Peterson, and Abby Molstre closed out the quarter with Lake leading by 42-36.
Brooke Pahukoa’s driving lay-in finished the string at the outset of the fourth quarter, and Molstre’s rebound basket with 4:55 left made it 48-38.
But Marysville heated up with a flurry of late-game baskets to edge back into contention. Two threes by Andi Adams, two more by Morgan Martinis, and another by Becca Lentz fueled a comeback which saw Marysville creep within 54-52 with 44 seconds left and 58-55 with five seconds to go. Burke’s six straight free throws and a pair by Peterson in the game’s final 1:13 preserved the championship for the Vikings.
Lake made 10 of 12 free throws in the fourth quarter and 16 of 22 overall. Marysville finished with 13 of 22 at the line.
Lake was outrebounded by 44-33––perhaps because its best rebounder, Mehan Warbis, left the game with an injury in the second quarter.
The Vikings made 19 of 52 field goals (including six of 15 threes) for 37 percent, to Marysville’s 18 of 53 (including 6 of 18 threes) for 34 percent.
Pahukoa, Burke and Schumacher each scored 11 points for Lake, with Peterson notching nine points and six assists. Molstre had six points, six rebounds and two blocked shots. Bostwick led Lake in rebounding with 10 and in blocked shots with five. Pahukoa had five rebounds and five steals. Adams scored 13 points for Marysville, Heckendorf 11.