LYNDEN - Sehome boys' basketball coach A.J. LaBree believes junior guard Evan Miksovsky has a flair for the dramatic.
When the buzzer is about to sound, and all the pressure is off him because you just want to get a shot up, that's when he's at his best," LaBree said. "When he's wide open with plenty of time left, that's when he seems to tense up a little."
Fortunately for the Mariners, Miksovsky found himself on the clock midway through the fourth quarter of their game against Cashmere during the second day of the Cloud 9 Sports Lynden Christmas Classic on Friday, Dec. 29, at Lynden Christian.
Miksovsky beat the shot clock with a deep 3-pointer with 4 minutes, 30 seconds remaining to break a tie game and give Sehome a lead it would not relinquish in a hard-fought 60-57 victory over a team that made the Class 1A state semifinals last year.
"This is a big win for us," said Miksovsky, who scored a game-high 18 points. "After the time off for Christmas, to come back and get two wins like this to get us ready for the rest of league play, it's exactly what we needed."
What the Mariners (8-2) needed midway through the fourth quarter was the ball in Miksovsky's hands with the shot clock ticking down.
Sehome, which had led for most of the game, until the Bulldogs stormed back with a 19-5 run to close out the third quarter and take a 47-45 lead into the fourth, managed to tie the game twice on 3-pointers by Gabe Sanchez on back-to-back trips down the floor to stem the tide. But until the ball trickled out to Miksovsky on the left side of the key with seconds ticking down, they had been unable to reclaim the advantage.
"I knew that time was ticking down," Miksovsky said. "The guy who was on me decided to back off to the free throw line, so I figured I might as well put it up."
Miksovsky found the net to give Sehome a 54-51 lead.
Cashmere twice managed to trim the lead to one, but Bo Banner hit a put-back bucket to give the Mariners a 59-55 lead with 1:42 to play.
Greg McElroy connected from in the paint off an assist from Casey Ruether to cut Cashmere's deficit in half.
Miksovsky twice had an opportunity to give the Mariners a little more breathing room from the foul line, but he went 1 for 4 in the final 40.1 seconds.
"My free throw shooting has been terrible," Miksovsky admitted.
Maybe LaBree will start to put him on a clock.
It didn't end up costing the Mariners, though. Dylan Boyd missed a pair of free throws at the other end of the court with 2.8 seconds left, and though Cashmere got a loose-ball rebound after the second, Ruether's desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer was off the mark.
Besides his indisputable offensive contribution on Friday, Miksovsky led the Mariners with nine rebounds, four assists and five steals and even chipped in a blocked shot.
"Evan, he is the glue for this team," LaBree said. "He's the guy we rely on for a lot of things. Other guys might lead us in scoring on certain nights, but he's still scoring in double figures and collecting rebounds, steals, assists, tips - all those little things that help us be successful."
What helped Sehome's success the most on Friday was limiting the impact of the Bulldogs' leading scorers, Boyd and McElroy. Though they combined for 30 points, the only time their impact was really felt in the game was when Boyd scored 10 of his 17 in the third quarter to lead the Bulldogs' comeback.
While foul trouble limited McElroy for much of the game, Sehome simply took them out of the game.
"We wanted to control the pace offensively and defensively," LaBree said. "We wanted to be aggressive and attack, and if possible get them in foul trouble or tire them out. Boyd made an impact there in the third quarter, but I thought we got exactly what we needed."
Sanchez and Charlie Linneman joined Miksovsky in double figures for Sehome with 12 and 11 points, respectively, while Noah Cyr-Moore hit three 3-pointers. The Mariners also got solid contributions off the bench from Banner and Duncan James when Linneman got in foul trouble and a key bucket and rebound from Tanner Clark in the fourth.
Sehome will host Delta Secondary School on Tuesday, Jan. 2, before returning to Northwest Conference action against Ferndale on Friday, Jan. 4.
Reach David Rasbach at email@example.com or 360-715-2286.
SEHOME 60, CASHMERE 57
Sehome 19 17 9 15 - 60
Cashmere 12 14 21 10 - 57
Sehome: Mo Williams 0, Evan Miksovsky 18, Leif Anderson 0, Charlie Linneman 11, Brice Longanecker 0, Tanner Clark 2, Noah Cyr-Moore 9, Jake Manson 0, Duncan James 1, Willy Lallas 4, Gabe Sanchez 12, Bo Banner 3. Team totals: 23-56 7-16 60.
Cashmere: Casey Ruether 4, Coleman McElroy 13, Dylan Boyd 17, Mason Elliott 4, Cooper Green 4, Jordan Christensen 14, Dawson Taylor 0, Connor Badgley 1. Team totals: 18-48 14-18 57.
3-ptg: Sehome 7 (Cyr-Moore 3), Cashmere 5 (Boyd 3). Rebounds: Sehome 33 (Miksovsky 9), Cashmere 33 (Elliott 10). Assists: Sehome 7 (Miksovsky 4), Cashmere 9 (Ruether 3, Boyd 3). Fouls: Sehome 21 (Linneman, Lallas fouled out), Cashmere 18 (McElroy fouled out). Turnovers: Sehome 16, Cashmere 20.
Reach DAVID RASBACH at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 715-2271.