Lynnwood senior Tyler McArthur saw plenty of openings early on against Mariner.
McArthur scored 16 of his season-high 22 points in the first half to help lead the Royals to a 58-49 victory over the Marauders in a Wesco 4A boys basketball game Saturday night at Lynnwood High School.
“I just found a lot of gaps and found myself wide open in the beginning so it was easy to score a lot of points in the first half,” McArthur said.
The key to McArthur’s success was that he finished his layups this game, said Lynnwood coach Michael Richards.
“When I’m in the key and getting contacted, I don’t finish well,” McArthur said. “So it was a good night for me to finally finish well with the contact.”
The Royals (2-3 in the league, 3-7 overall) jumped to an 18-7 first quarter lead and extended the advantage to 34-22 at halftime.
Mariner (1-3, 2-7) began to chip away at the lead in the third quarter. The Marauders went on a 7-0 at the end of the quarter and trailed 43-37 at the start of the fourth quarter.
Mariner cut the lead to 45-39 on a pair of free throws by Andre Haghgoo early in the fourth quarter before a basket by Patrick Smith boosted the lead back to 47-39 at the 6-minute mark.
Two free throws by Mariner’s Ryan Mendoza cut the lead to 47-42 with 4:38 left in the game but Lynnwood responded with back-to-back 3s by Greyson Elwell and Robert Todorov to take a 53-42 lead with just over three minutes to go.
Richards encourages his players to take the 3 when given the opportunity.
“They get an open 3, I want them to take it,” Richards said. “If they make it, good. If they don’t, it’s not a big deal.”
The closest Mariner would get was eight points with 20 seconds remaining.
“We came out and played our game,” Richards said. “We pushed it when we wanted to push it. We played good solid D. We made sure we were talking to each other and we were patient against the zone.”
Smith scored 13 points and Elwell added 11. Mariner’s Haghgoo scored 21 points.
Lynnwood was playing without starting point guard Cordell Smith, who was serving the first of a two-game suspension after being ejected in the previous game. Starting in his place was freshman Bryce Milne.
“He did a pretty good job,” Richards said. “I told him at the beginning of the game, ‘I’m giving you the keys to my car. Make sure you drive it nicely.’”
McArthur saw solid play from Milne.
“He stepped up to the spot,” McArthur said. “He facilitated well and stayed well under the pressure. Mariner ran a full-court defense.”
Lynnwood is on the road against Mount Vernon on Tuesday, Jan. 7.
“We’re learning how to compete,” Richards said. “We’re learning how to get through adversity. When we get down seven, 10 points, we still want to come back and fight through that.”
“We’re growing every game,” he said. “I think we could have won some games that we had in the past. We’re getting better every game.”