Vikings (14-1 in Wesco North, 19-1 overall) needed this win to tie Stanwood for the Wesco North title -- and to share with Stanwood the unofficial overall Wesco crown). It was a fitting test of Lake’s mettle, as Jackson had already cinched the Wesco South championship.
Lake’s 64-57 win was fashioned in typical Viking style -- aggressive defense feeding into an intimidating transition offense. This was a very physical battle which, for what it lacked in grace and finesse, more than made up for in warrior intensity.
Both teams at the outset showed the edginess of the pressure setting (and perhaps of some fatigue from the unusually large number of games played in the past couple of weeks due to all the snow-out makeups).
Lake missed its first five shots from the field and its first four free throws, finally scoring on Kali Long’s put-back at the 4:02 mark. Jackson started nearly as poorly, drawing blanks on its first five shots and committing four turnovers before Hayley Gjertsen’s lay-in broke the scoring ice at 4:39.
Lake finished the first quarter with three baskets in 15 attempts and two of nine from the line, yet trailed by just 11-8 as Jackson went five of 17 and zero of two, respectively.
After that, the offense heated up for both teams.
Brooke Pahukoa struggled through a zero for six first quarter, but like all great scorers she kept on shooting and the shots started finding the basket. Scoreless in the first quarter, Brooke went eight for nine from the field and 12 for 14 at the line after that, for a career-high 28 points.
Brooke’s 15 second quarter points carried Lake to a 30-24 halftime lead.
Katie Goddard’s three at 3:20 of the third quarter gave Lake a 31-20 lead. but Jackson fought back to trail by 46-41 entering the fourth.
Jackson twice cut the margin to one point before Goddard’s three at 5:45 made it 51-47 and Lake was able to keep at least a three-point lead thereafter.
Forced to foul, Jackson put Lake at the line in the final minutes where the Vikings cashed in on seven of eight, including five of six by Brooke.
Brooke’s 28 points were backed up by Goddard’s 17, while Long’s 15 rebounds helped Lake stay competitive on the boards (Jackson had 40 rebounds, Lake 39). Long also had three steals and two blocked shots.
Brooke’s twin, Brittney, compiled an outstanding stat line of her own -- seven points, seven rebounds, six assists, six steals.
Lake made 20 of 45 field goals (including three of nine threes) for 44%, and was 21 of 33 at the line, while Jackson made 19 of 58 field goals (including three of 11 threes) for 32% and went 16 of 26 at the line.
Each team had 21 turnovers.
Kelli and Brooke Kingma and Sierra Anderson each scored 13 points for Jackson.
VIKING BOYS 66 AT SNOHOMISH 70 (February 3)
Win this game and Lake would finish as Wesco North co-champs with Stanwood. Lose it and the Vikings would place third, with Stanwood and Snohomish sharing the title. Given the loss early in the season of 6-8 center Lorin Vandegrift, whom the Vikings (10-5 in league, 13-8 overall) had been counting on to average a double-double, Lake’s ability to remain competitive throughout the season is admirable.
Lake nearly pulled it off at Snohomish, only to see the Panthers turn in perhaps its best game of the season. Amost single-handedly winning the game for Snohomish was senior forward Gabe Reichenberger, who played perhaps the game of his life with 21 points including five of six from three-point range.
Lake’s defensive efforts were focused on senior guard Luke Hamlin, averaging 24 points a game. Hamlin finished with 15 points on four of 13 shooting but Reichenberger was left open to dial in from long range.
Had not Reichenberger busted loose it would have been Lake’s Dakota Tomson, emerging from a nearly season-long offensive slump, who would have been hailed as player of the game. The junior guard went six for six in the first half for 15 points to keep Lake within 32-30 at intermission. Tomson finished nine for 11 from the field for 22 points.
Lake’s offense went cold in the middle part of the third quarter, missing eight straight field goals, allowing Snohomish to emerge with a 52-42 lead entering the fourth.
After missing its first five shots of the fourth quarter Lake rallied to make nine of its final 11 to give itself a chance at victory.
A pair of baskets by Devin Stoen brought Lake to within 60-54 with 2:37 left but Snohomish cashed in at the line, making 11 of 14 in the quarter, to stay out of reach. Christian Gasca’s steal and three at the buzzer cut the final margin to 70-66.
Gasca’s usual stellar all-around game saw him score 12 points (on four of five shooting), plus four assists, two rebounds and five steals, along with some tough defense on Hamlin.
Brady Pahukoa’s eight rebounds led Lake as Snohomish edged Lake in that department by 30-27.
Lake took good care of the ball, committing a season-low five turnovers, to 14 for Snohomish.
Lake made 23 of 55 field goals (including four of 16 threes) for 42%. Snohomish was 21 of 43 (including 10 of 24 threes) for 49%.
Lake made 16 of 21 free throws, Snohomish 18 of 22.
LAKE BOYS 42 AT MONROE 47 (February 1)
Lake can look back on this game, probably more than any other this season, as the one which cost it the league title.
Lake suffered through a dreadful first half (in which it made five of 18 field goals, and a second quarter which saw the Vikings give up 11 offensive rebounds including six in one sequence which resulted in a Monroe basket).
Yet, despite Lake’s trailing by 34-21 at halftime, had anyone predicted that Monroe would be held to 13 second half points on 15% shooting (four of 27), one probably would have foreseen a come from behind Viking win.
It was not to be.
Lake, behind by 40-29 entering the fourth, went six of 12 in the final period, to one of 10 for Monroe, but missed several opportunites to pull out the win. A three by Kevin Smith followed by Gasca’s steal and lay-in, cut the gap to 40-36 with five minutes left.