MOUNT VERNON - Fortunately, the fable about the tortoise and the hare doesn't always come true. Sometimes the tortoise just can't catch up.
The Sehome boys' basketball team came out fast in an elimination game of the Class 2A District 1/2 Tournament - like it was shot out of a cannon - while Cedarcrest appeared ready to hit the snooze bar a couple more times rather than deal with the Mariners darting around the court.
"We're quick," Sehome senior post Willy Lallas said. "We love to run. That's what we're all about."
The Red Wolves found out just how quick, as they found themselves in a 17-0 hole before they blinked, and the Mariners were able to keep them at arm's length the rest of the way and stay alive with a 68-54 victory on Wednesday, Feb. 13, at Mount Vernon High School.
Sehome (18-5) had three players score in double figures, as Charlie Linneman led the way with 21, Noah Cyr-Moore scored 12 and Evan Miksovsky recorded a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Their efforts helped get the Mariners into a 6 p.m. showdown against Anacortes on Friday, Feb. 15, at Mount Vernon - the winner receives a berth into the regional round of the 2A State Tournament.
"We just want to win and get to state," Lallas said. "That's been our goal all along. It doesn't matter how we do it, we just want to win and move forward."
Sehome was moving forward at break-neck speed from the opening tip Wednesday, when Gabe Sanchez grabbed the ball and raced up the court for the rim. He ended up getting fouled only four seconds into the game and made one of two foul shots to give Sehome a lead it would not relinquish.
Two trips later, Linneman nailed a 3-pointer to make it 4-0, before Lallas converted a 3-point play the old fashioned way off an assist from Miksovsky.
Linneman then scored layups on three of Sehome's next four possessions, before Cyr-Moore got a mid-court steal and layup to make it 15-0 only 3:41 into the game. Sanchez added a baseline drive for two more and forced Cedarcrest (13-10) to take a timeout to try to catch its breath and try to catch up with a game that was simply moving too fast.
The Red Wolves just couldn't seem to keep up with Sehome's speed and athleticism. The Mariners' quickness to the hoop, to the boards, trapping on defense and poking the ball away all seemed too much.
"You can practice going against the press, but your scout team, no matter how good it is, is not going to be able to replicate what four seniors and one junior who have been playing this style for the past four years are going to be able to do," Sehome coach A.J. LaBree said. "I think it took them a little while to get up to the speed we were playing at. When they did, they have some pretty good guards in (Zach) Taylor and (Jordan) Corpus, and they were able to play at our speed. But it took them a while to get there."
The Mariners certainly capitalized on the time it took the Red Wolves to find the fast forward button.
By the time Cedarcrest called that timeout with 3:20 left in the first quarter, Sehome had forced more turnovers (six) and grabbed more offensive rebounds (five) than the Red Wolves had shot attempts (four).
Most importantly for Sehome, it all added up to a 17-point advantage.
"We were lucky we got that run, because they came back and played us pretty tough," LaBree said.
Cedarcrest pretty much matched Sehome shot for shot the rest of the way, as the margin hovered around 10 to 14 points for most of the next 31/2 quarters.
The only time the Red Wolves made a serious threat came midway through the fourth quarter, when John Soule's 3-point play followed Austin Paxman's 3-pointer to draw Cedarcrest, which was led by 18 points each from Taylor and Corpus, within eight points at 55-47 with 3:51 to play.
But Lallas followed a beautiful no-look feed from Sanchez with a nice up-and-under lay-up to stem the tide and push the lead back to double digits.
"I just wanted to get it in," Lallas said. "I just had some good hang time under the basket, and I wanted to make sure I finished."
Lallas added a free throw on the next possession, before Miksovsky's lay-up made it 60-47 with 3:07 to play.
Lallas finished with nine points and eight rebounds in what has become a typically solid contribution of late from the 5-foot-10 post.
"Willy is a guy that does a lot of different things for us, and does them well," LaBree said. "He had mono at the start of the season and missed three games early. After that, it took him a while to get up to speed. But the last half of the season, he's really made a contribution for us. He's really made a difference since we've been able to start him. He's a guy that can crank it up and go at the rim, just like you'd expect from a Sehome post. ... He gives us another athlete out there."
He obviously wasn't the only athlete in green and gold Wednesday to make a big contribution. In addition to scoring in double figures, Cyr-Moore pulled down seven rebounds, while Linneman had six. Linneman and Miksovsky each had three steals, while Bo Banner came off the bench to record two along with his five points and three rebounds.
It's those sorts of athletic contributions the Mariners know they'll need to get again on Friday if they hope to earn a trip to the regional round.
"We need to do what we do best and play Sehome basketball," Lallas said.
Anacortes won the regular-season meeting with the Mariners 78-51 on Dec. 18 in a game that Sehome struggled with its passing. But LaBree believes his team has greatly changed since then.
"I don't think we had found our identity the last time we played them," LaBree said. "Willy had just gotten back and was working his way into the lineup. Anacortes is a very good team, but I think we are, too. It will be exciting to play them again and see if we can't get this one."
Reach David Rasbach at email@example.com or 360-715-2286.
SEHOME 68, CEDARCREST 54
Sehome 19 15 12 22 - 68
Cedarcrest 6 16 10 22 - 54
Sehome: Mo Williams 0, Evan Miksovsky 14, Leif Anderson 2, Charlie Linneman 21, Brice Longanecker 0, Noah Cyr-Moore 12, Jake Manson 0, Duncan James 0, Willy Lallas 9, Gabe Sanchez 5, Bo Banner 5, Langston Engle 0. Team totals: 22-58 21-40 68.
Cedarcrest: Bennett Minnie 0, Zach Taylor 18, Chris Cole 4, Nick Peden 0, Brett Young 0, Jordan Corpus 18, Jerry Gates 0, Austin Patsy 0, Xavier Turner 4, Chad Klingenberg 2, Austin Paxman 3, John Soule 5. Team totals: 19-52 11-20 54.
3-ptg: Sehome 2 (Linneman, Cyr-Moore), Cedarcrest 5 (Corpus 2). Rebounds: Sehome 42 (Miksovsky 11), Cedarcrest 38 (Soule 10). Assists: Sehome 7 (Miksovsky 2, Sanchez 2), Cedarcrest 3 (Corpus 2). Fouls: Sehome 18, Cedarcrest 27 (Taylor, Turner, Soule fouled out). Turnovers: Sehome 12, Cedarcrest 23.
Reach DAVID RASBACH at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 715-2271.