Lake Stevens boys basketball team edged closer to clinching a berth in the forthcoming District Tournament by winning two of its three games recently.
Lake beat Mariner 48-31 at home on January 14, lost at Jackson 77-50 on January 18, and beat Snohomish 65-53 on January 21.
That gave Lake a 7-4 record in Wesco North (9-7 overall), good for third place, with four league games remaining. If Lake can finish third or better it would avoid playing Jackson on the latter’s home floor in the District opener next month.
At Lake 48 Mariner 31
Mariner made three threes in the first quarter and six of its first eight shots overall while Lake was off to a sluggish two for 10 start as the Marauders broke out to a 15-8 lead at the quarter break.
After that it was all Lake. Viking defense and superior rebounding limited Mariner to a total of 16 points total in the final three quarters. The Marauders missed 32 of their final 37 field goal attempts.
Gunnar Eklund pulled down 21 rebounds in addition to his 14 points, two assists and two steals.
Seth Dodge was named outstanding player of the game with 11 points, seven rebounds, five assists and two steals.
Dakota Tomson added 12 points and four steals.
Lake shot 32 percent for the game and made 16 of 26 free throws, to Mariner’s 25 percent and three of seven free throws.
Lake outrebounded Mariner by 42-31 and committed 12 turnovers to Mariner’s 19.
At Jackson 77 Lake 50
Lake’s four-game win streak came to a grinding halt versus the state’s then second ranked 4A team (now third ranked).
Lake’s hopes of giving the Timberwolves a good game were quickly dashed, as inexplicably, the Vikings seemed a step slow at every position. Jackson beat Lake to its spots on the floor to overwhelm the Vikings on both offense and defense.
After a reasonably competitive first quarter in which Lake trailed 16-10 the Vikings were outscored by 19-7 in the second quarter and 27-15 in the third.
The Wolves connected on 47 percent of their field goals and 14 of 17 free throws while Lake shot 33 percent and made 10 of 20 at the line.
Lake did manage to hold a 38-37 rebounding advantage while committing 14 turnovers to Jackson’s nine.
Eklund notched a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds. Tomson scored 10 points, Dodge and Christian Gasca had eight points each.
Oregon-bound superstar guard Brett Kingma scored 22 points and provided some guffaws when he flubbed a showboating breakaway slam dunk.
At Lake 65 Snohomish 53
Lake completely turned its game around versus Snohomish in what was a fast-paced and well-played contest from start to finish.
Brady Pahukoa, earning his way into the starting lineup for the first time after finally overcoming his football injury, had a breakout game for the Vikings. The 6-3 junior forward skied for 12 rebounds and scored 13 points along with three assists and he turned the ball over just once.
Compiling another double-double was Eklund with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Also in double figure scoring for the Vikings was Dodge with 12 points and Tomson with 12, while Gasca tallied nine.
Dodge’s three offensive rebounds and a pair of under-the-basket assists in the fourth quarter keyed Lake’s late surge which cinched the win.
Typically, Lake started slowly in the first quarter, falling behind twice by 11 points, before four straight baskets in the final two minutes (two by Tomson, including a three at the buzzer) cut the gap to 18-14.
Five-for-five shooting at the outset of the second quarter (for a total of nine consecutive baskets without a miss) offset a pair of Snohomish threes and Eklund’s put-back with 4:04 left finally edged Lake ahead by 27-25. Of those first five baskets three were by Dodge and two by Eklund -- all of them via lay-ins. Lake led 34-29 at halftime and 42-40 entering the fourth.
The sharpshooting of Snohomish guard Luke Hamlin, who finished with 25 points, helped keep the Panthers in contention until the final minutes of the game.
Lake’s lead was just 51-49 with 2:52 left when Dodge fed Pahukoa for a lay-in on an under the basket out of bounds play, then Dodge found Eklund via an identical pass for a three-point play and a 60-51 Viking lead with 48 seconds left.
Lake missed five of eight free throws after that but was comfortably ahead by then.
Lake shot 48 percent for the game while holding Snohomish to 32 percent. The Panthers made just five of 26 threes while Lake was three of eight from that distance. Once more Lake’s free throw shooting was sub-par, just 10 of 20; Snohomish made 10 of 13.
After Lake surrendered 12 rebounds to the Panthers (seven of them offensive) in the first quarter the Vikings assumed control of the boards in the final three quarters, ending with a 42-32 margin overall. Lake had 13 turnovers, Snohomish 11.