Prep boys basketball: Mavericks get tough road win to remain in 6th place

In a rare Monday night game, the Meadowdale Mavericks boys basketball team traveled to Everett High School to take on the host Seagulls. Both teams were looking for a win to strengthen their post-season playoff position. In a hotly contested battle, Meadowdale was able to eek out a one-point win, 57-56, to maintain possession of 6th place in the 3A Wesco standings.

Everett opened the first quarter on a 7-0 run before Meadowdale was able to get on the scoreboard, in the form of a Haben Tekle 3-pointer.

Throughout the first half, Meadowdale played a constant game of catch up. They pulled within two points of Everett when Moustapha Sonko drained a 3-pointer to trail 15-13.

The Gulls responded by going on another run, 8-0, to extend their lead to 23-13.

Mavericks forward Dan Barhoum ended the first quarter with two baskets to bring the Mavs within six, at 23-17.

Meadowdale scored the first six points of the second quarter to tie the game at 23, but Everett had one more burst, scoring all 14 of the team’s second-quarter quarter points over the next three minutes, compared to just three for the Mavs, The Seagulls extended their lead to double digits for the second time, 37-26.

Mavs senior Justin Chambers ended the second quarter much the way Barhoum ended the first, by scoring twice — once with a three-point jumper and then a two-point basket off the fast break. The half ended with Everett leading 37-31.

The second half was a much more closely contested affair. Neither team led by more than five points the remainder of the game.

Meadowdale clamped down on defense, holding the Seagulls to just five points in the third period. The Mavs were able to score 11 during that quarter, which meant the fourth and deciding quarter began with the teams tied at 42.

With 7:40 to play, guard Will Schafer slashed down the lane for a lay-in to give the Mavericks their first lead of the game at 44-42. He then followed it up, going coast to coast and scoring while being fouled. He converted on the free throw to extend the Mavs’ lead to 47-42.

Everett fought back and tied the game at 49 with 4:35 on the clock.

From there, the two teams exchanged scores and the lead four times, with no lead larger than three points.

With 1:16 to play and Everett leading by two, 54-52, Meadowdale’s Barhoum was fouled, sending him to the line for two free throws. He converted both, tying the game once again at 54.

On Everett’s next possession, the Seagulls’ Elijah Ross-Rutter would get a good look down low, but the shot rimmed out. Barhoum was there for the rebound and was fouled from behind in the fight for the board.

With the teams tied at 54, and with 19.4 seconds on the clock, Barhoum stepped to the line and calmly hits the first free throw to give the Mavericks the lead, 55-54. Head coach Roger O’Neill had made the decision to clear the lane of his players, sending them all back to prepare to play defense and not commit any unnecessary fouls. This left just two Seagulls players there to rebound a missed free throw.

Miss he did, but the ball hit the back of the rim hard and bounced high back toward the free throw line, over the two Everett players and into the alert hands of Dan Barhoum, who bent over and clutched the ball tightly before Coach O’Neill called a quick time out.

On the in-bounds play, Justin Chambers was fouled, stopping the clock at 10.9 seconds and awarding him two free throws. He would make both, extending Meadowdale’s lead to three, 57-54.

Everett in-bounded the ball quickly, advancing it across the half-court line, and called time out, allowing for their ensuing in-bounds play to take place at half court. With 8.8 seconds left, the Gulls got the ball in to senior guard Bogdan Fesiienko, who dribbled down the lane for an uncontested layin to make the score 57-56 in favor of Meadowdale. The score came with less than five seconds to play, and the clock continued to run. The Mavericks didn’t have to in bounds the ball and allowed time to expire with the lead, escaping with the win.

After the game, O’Neill spoke about the game and what the difference was between the first and second halves for his team. “Mission accomplished tonight,” he said. “Weird Monday night game. Finals week. We survived with a win.”

O’Neill noted that the Mavs “came out with a little more pressure (in the second half), and from there, it was just mixing and matching defensively. We gave up eight offensive rebounds in the first half, which is way too many, so we were trying to finish stops.”

The biggest change, however, was reducing the number of team turnovers. The Mavs had 15 in the first half but just four in the second. “We told them, you need to be strong with the ball or this is going to end poorly,” O’Neill said. “I think that was the biggest thing for us.”

Dan Barhoum talked about the crucial play where he rebounded his own missed free throw with 19.4 seconds to play. “I let go of it, and thought oh, that’s either really long, or it’s going to bounce off the backboard. I saw the ball bounce in the air and I kinda knew where it was going to land, so I anticipated it. Our coach had told us at halftime, because we had 15 turnovers in the half, if you get a rebound, just hold on to the ball. So I just did that.”

The win gives Meadowdale the clear advantage over Everett in the Wesco 3A standings and sole possession of 6th place. The Mavs will head into Friday night’s clash with cross-town rival Edmonds-Woodway looking to do the same against the Warriors, who are right behind the Mavericks in seventh place. The Mavs will also be looking to exact a little revenge as the Warriors beat Meadowdale 76-65 on Dec. 8.

Boys Basketball: Meadowdale at Everett, Jan. 22

Meadowdale                     17    14     11    15 —57

Everett                             23    14     05    14 —56

Meadowdale scoring: Justin Chambers 19, Dan Barhoum 12, Will Schafer 9, Haben Tekle 8, Mustapha Sonko 7, Nick Buckley 1, Will McKinley 1, Colton Walsh 0, Drew Harvey 0, Okeoma Okoro 0

Everett scoring: Wes Erickson 25, Bogdan Fesiienko 12, Elijah Ross-Rutter 8, Preston Campbell 6, Daniel Peterson 5, Andrew Olson 0, Mason Cobos 0, Jayden White 0

Records: Meadowdale 5-3 in 3A Wesco League, 9-7 overall; Everett 3-6 in 3A Wesco League, 6-11 overall

Meadowdale’s next game: versus Edmonds-Woodway, Friday, Jan. 26, 5:40 p.m. at Meadowdale High School.

Everett’s next game: versus Oak Harbor Friday, Jan. 26, 7:15 p.m. at Everett High School

— Story and photos by Scott Williams

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