MOUNT VERNON - Usually the Sehome boys' basketball team comes ready to run. And run. And run.
The Mariners' aggressive pressure defense and up-tempo style has created headaches and plenty of frustration for many opponents over the past couple of years.
But at the most inopportune time, Sehome simply "came out flat" according to coach A.J. LaBree.
Anacortes was more than willing to capitalize, as they jumped out to a quick double-digit lead thanks to a shooting exhibition from Sam D'Amelio, who nailed seven 3-pointers and scored 32 points to give the Seahawks the boost they needed to grab an 86-72 victory on Friday, Feb. 15, in a Class 2A District 1/2 Tournament game that sent the winner on to the regional round of the state tournament.
With only three teams out of the district moving on to the final 16 this year, the loss ended Sehome's season with an 18-6 record.
"They caught us flat footed," LaBree said. "We knew they had some good shooters, and they found them open on the outside. Once those guys get rolling, it's pretty hard to stop."
There certainly was no stopping D'Amelio on Friday, as the senior nailed three first-quarter 3-pointers, one more in the second, two in the third and a final trey in the fourth, as Seahawks ball handlers repeatedly found him open, either by driving the paint and kicking out or rotating the ball around nicely.
And the few times that D'Amelio wasn't open on the perimeter, Anacortes (19-5) found sophomore Ty Johnson, who chipped in three more 3-pointers and 14 points, as the Seahawks had all five starters score in double figures.
"I think we got caught off guard by their speed a little bit," LaBree said. "Not only how quick and athletic they were, but how quickly they moved the ball around and found the open shooter. They really did a good job of zipping passes."
Such a good job that it took Anacortes only five possessions to open up a 10-0 lead.
After Gabe Sanchez got a steal on the Seahawks' opening possession, D'Amelio found Johnson for a drive and a 2-0 lead on their second. Johnson then hit a 3-pointer off a feed from Matt Aldridge, who finished with a game-high seven of Anacortes' impressive 21 assists in the game.
D'Amelio then took a feed from A.J. Yost for a lay-up, before Aldridge set him up with for the first of his 3s and forced Sehome to call a time out less than two minutes in.
"We blinked and we were down 10-zip," LaBree said.
Unfortunately for Sehome, the first half only got worse from there.
D'Amelio singed the nets at Mount Vernon High School for two more 3s and another lay-up to finish the first quarter with 13 points and added seven more in the second quarter, and the Seahawks continued to roll, stretching a 22-6 first-quarter lead into a 42-21 advantage by halftime.
Despite its slow start, Sehome did put up a good second-half fight.
Noah Cyr-Moore drained a fall-away, NBA-length 3-pointer on the Mariners' first second-half possession, and kept hitting. Cyr-Moore ended up scoring 17 of his team-high 25 points after halftime and hit five of his seven 3-pointers after the break.
Charlie Linneman, who finished with 15 points, also hit a pair of 3s in the third quarter, as the Mariners slowly but surely knocked 10 points off their deficit by the end of the third quarter, thanks to another 3-pointer from Cyr-Moore that beat the buzzer.
"Noah was amazing in the second half," LaBree said. "We've been waiting for him to have a night like this. We all knew he could do it. We've seen him do it in practice and in games, and it was great to see him come on like that. He really kept us in the game."
After nailing the first of his two fourth-quarter 3s, Cyr-Moore then set up Willy Lallas for a nice fade-away baseline jumper to cut Sehome's deficit to single digits, 64-55 with 6:21 to play.
But just as quickly as Sehome got back in the game, Anacortes took them out, as Andrew Medalia and Yost scored in the paint on back-to-back possessions to stretch the lead back out to 13, before D'Amelio hit his final three of the night with 3:15 to play. The Seahawks ended up making enough free throws down the stretch to put the game away and lock up their trip to Tumwater for the regional.
"I was proud of the way my guys battled back," LaBree said. "We made a game out of it. There has never been any quit in this bunch."
Sehome will graduate eight seniors off its district roster, including four of its five starters - Cyr-Moore, Sanchez, Linneman and Lallas.
"Those guys have been playing together so long and most of them have been together on the varsity the last two to three years," LaBree said. "It's been a pleasure for me to coach them. We've got a million stories that we'll be able to share some day. This one stings a little right now, because we ended up a little short of our goal of making it to the final 16, but we'll be able to look back and see how much these guys accomplished some day soon."
Reach David Rasbach at email@example.com or 360-715-2286.
ANACORTES 86, SEHOME 72
Sehome 6 15 26 25 - 72
Anacortes 23 20 16 28 - 86
Sehome: Mo Williams 3, Evan Miksovsky 7, Leif Anderson 0, Charlie Linneman 15, Brice Longanecker 3, Noah Cyr-Moore 25, Jake Manson 5, Duncan James 0, Willy Lallas 7, Gabe Sanchez 7, Bo Banner 0. Team totals: 26-62 8-20 72.
Anacortes: Matt Aldridge 12, Ty Johnson 14, Jeremiah Stielow 0, Zach Hiles 0, A.J. Yost 4, Sam D'Amelio 32, Alex Luevanos 1, Andrew Medalia 10, Billy King 11, Joe D'Amelio 0, Jordan Neville 1, Daniel McInerney 1. Team totals: 26-42 24-36 76.
3-ptg: Sehome 10 (Cyr-Moore 7), Anacortes 10 (S. D'Amelio 7). Rebounds: Sehome 31 (Linneman 8), Anacortes 35 (King 9). Assists: Sehome 8 (Miksovsky 3, Cyr-Moore 3), Anacortes 21 (Aldridge 7). Fouls: Sehome 29 (Sanchez fouled out), Anacortes 20. Turnovers: Sehome 13, Anacortes 18.