The Meridian boys' basketball team bounced back from a pair of tough losses during the Cloud 9 Christmas Classic to earn a 56-38 non-conference win against Mount Baker on Tuesday, Dec. 31, at Mount Baker High School.
Trojans junior forward Alex Martin scored a game-high 20 points, and Kyle Young added 11 points in the win.
But the job Meridian did in slowing down Mount Baker's offensive weapons, especially the work of the Trojans' three seniors, impressed coach Shane Stacy the most.
"I thought our guys really showed up defensively to play tonight," Stacy said in a phone interview. "They had some tough matchups with (Reuben) Murashov. He is one of the best players in the league."
Murashov still scored nearly half of Mount Baker's points with an 18-point effort. He also grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds.
Meridian (4-3, 1-0 NWC) led 12-8 after the first quarter and extended that lead to 29-22 at half. The Trojans outscored the Mountaineers (1-6, 0-1 NWC) 27-16 during the final two quarters.
"Really, they were all spread out," Stacy said of Martin's 20 points. "It was a real quiet 20. He has been really smart about his shots and choosing how to take shots. Kyle had a great game down low and opened things up for Alex on the outside."
Besides Murashov, Conner Brandland scored six points, Keenan Gray had five and Isaac Gilmore chipped in four. Meridian held the Mountaineers to a 29.5 percent field-goal percentage, and the Trojans outrebounded Baker 27-25.
Meridian opens the bulk of its conference schedule next with a game against Sedro-Woolley at 7:15 p.m. Friday, Jan. 3, at Meridian High School. Mount Baker is slated to host Tamawanis Secondary in a non-league game next at 7:15 p.m. Friday, Jan. 3.
"I'm exited," said Stacy of starting the conference schedule. "It's a great group of guys, and we have a lot of chemistry. We've found something out every game that we need to get better at, and we just need to continue to improve throughout the season."
MERIDIAN 56, MOUNT BAKER 38
Meridian 12 17 14 13 - 56
Mount Baker 8 14 9 7 - 38
Meridian: Jake Plagerman 2, Tanner Tutterow 3, Brady Moore 8, Nick Rautenberg 5, Alex Martin 20, Sam Chambers 3, Kyle Young 11, Cody Bachman 5, Dan Young 0, Devyn Holmes 0. Blake Briones 3. Team totals: 19-52 8-15 56.
Mount Baker: Isaac Gilmore 4, Keenan Gray 5, Reuben Murashov 18, Drew Nicol 0, Cody Larson 0, Seth Bass 0, Colton Ranson 3, Conner Brandland 6, Josh Barbo 0, Andrew Zender 2. Team totals: 13-44 9-9 38.
3-ptg: Meridian 10-22 (Martin 6), Mount Baker 3-15 (Three with 1). Rebounds: Meridian 27 (Young 8), Mount Baker 25 (Murashov 12). Assists: Meridian 11 (Plagerman 2), Mount Baker 5 (Ranson 2). Fouls: Meridian 12, Mount Baker 12. Turnovers: Meridian 10, Mount Baker 13.