TACOMA – A pack of Mountlake Terrace seniors sprinted off the court and into the locker room. One of them, Marquis Armstead, held the fourth-place trophy high above his head, the reward for beating Seattle Prep 54-43 on Saturday.
“Don’t drop it,” Terrace senior Jesse Zerom yelled.
No. 6 Terrace (23-4) had to set out to win the Class 3A state championship entering the tournament, but the Hawks were more than pleased with their consolation prize.
Terrace used a 9-0 run in the third quarter to turn a one-point deficit into an eight-point lead. The Hawks then held off a Prep (21-9) comeback late in the fourth.
“This wasn’t just, let’s go play another game,” Mountlake Terrace coach Nalin Sood said. “This mattered.”
Prep senior D.J. Fenner, the area’s second-leading scorer, scored a layup that cut Terrace’s lead to three with 3:45 left in the game. Blake Fernandez answered with a three-pointer.
Fernandez followed that by drawing a foul on Fenner, who also picked up a technical and his fifth foul during the sequence. Fernandez hit four free throws and extended Terrace’s lead to 10.
Fenner, a Nevada signee averaging 28 points, finished with a season-low nine points. His previous low was 17. Fenner is the second-leading scorer in Prep history with nearly 1,800 career points.
Armstead spent much of the day harassing Fenner, who was playing on a sprained ankle.
“As far as just a scorer, he is as good an offensive player as Prep’s ever seen,” said Prep coach Mike Kelly, whose team finished sixth. “He’s been doing a lot of thinking about the end of his high-school career. I just know there were so many other things going through his head.”
The Hawks once again had the balanced scoring that carried them all season. Armstead and Fernandez each finished with 11 apiece. Loren Lacasse added 10.
Terrace outscored Prep 35-20 in the second half.
“They can feel awfully validated in the work they put in, in the time they put in,” Sood.
Senior Angelo Marchesini led Prep with 11 points.