A high-scoring shootout seemed certain with two of the top scoring teams in the Northwest Conference featuring three of the top seven scorers in the league on the floor together.
But what Squalicum and Sedro-Woolley offered Friday, Jan. 30, at Squalicum High was far from a box-score busting display of offense.
Both coming off scoring season highs, points were at a premium this time, and in the crucial fourth-quarter stages when the Storm yearned for offense, they couldn’t get a shot to fall as the Cubs earned a 59-48 Northwest Conference win.
“I think we rushed our shots a little bit tonight,” said Storm coach Dave Dickson of his offense that poured in 78 against Sehome earlier in the week. “That might be a result of their pressure defense, but down the stretch we didn’t execute as well as they did, so they came out on top.”
Squalicum guard Josiah Westbrook finished with a team-high 17 points and 10 rebounds, scoring 12 of the Storm’s 20 second-half points. Damek Mitchell, who exited late with an apparent ankle injury, added 14 points. Josh Vail had six points, all which came in the first quarter.
Sedro-Woolley, fresh off a 91-point outing against Bellingham, and NWC leading scorer Jackson Price weren’t absolved from the offensive struggle. Price finished with 14 points, 10 below his season average, and didn’t score a second-half field goal. However, the senior standout found other ways to contribute, setting up his teammates for key buckets in the final minutes.
Cubs guard Anthony Cann scored a game-high 19 points, scoring nine in the first quarter and eight in the final frame.
The loss dropped Squalicum (12-5, 7-2 NWC) to third in the league standings and snapped the Storm’s four-game win streak.
Squalicum led 46-41 with 5:51 left in the game, but the Cubs suddenly started scoring in bunches, venturing on a 10-0 run during the next three minutes. Meanwhile, Squalicum, which shot 1 of 12 in the fourth, struggled finding good looks.
“You miss those critical shots, and this league is going to make you pay for it,” Dickson said. “We paid mightily tonight.”
The Storm were outscored 20-7 in fourth quarter, and Squalicum scored only two points during the final 5:51. Westbrook scored the Storm’s only field goal of the quarter with 7:13 left in the game.
Trailing 51-48 with 2:16 left after a pair of Westbrook free throws, the big blow to Squalicum came on Sedro-Woolley’s ensuing possession when Price made a pass across the key to Will Enniss, who was wide open behind the arc along the right baseline. Enniss measured up his shot and drained the triple, extending the Cubs’ lead to 54-28.
“Defensively, I thought we played well enough to win, and offensively I thought we played well until the fourth quarter where I felt like we didn’t execute as well as we could of,” Dickson said.
Westbrook and Vail took turns guarding Price in the Storm’s man-to-man defense, and while Dickson praised their efforts, he said Squalicum didn’t do enough to prevent Price from running Sedro-Woolley’s offense effectively when the game was on the line.
Squalicum led 18-17 after the first, but thanks to a 10-2 run the Cubs took a 27-20 advantage in the second before the Storm gained the lead back early in the third quarter. A Westbrook 3 right before the third-quarter buzzer gave Squalicum a 41-39 edge heading into the fourth.
Sedro-Woolley 59, Squalicum 48
Sedro-Woolley: John Gaethle 2, Cade Isakson 4, Ethan Isakson 5, Jackson Price 14, Will Enniss 5, Mason Elms 2, Chad Wilberg 8, Anthony Cann 19, Cory Peterson 0. Totals: 21-46 14-29 59.
Squalicum: Harper Moore 0, Noah Westerhoff 4, Josh Vail 6, Darious Powell 5, Damek Mitchell 14, Josiah Westbrook 17, Ben Tripp 0, Chris Paz 2, Connor Sage 0. Totals: 17-54 13-16 48.
3-point field goals — Sedro-Woolley: 3 (Cann 2); Squalicum: 2 (Powell/Westbrook 1). Rebounds — Sedro-Woolley: 34 (Wilburg 10); Squalicum: 34 (Westbrook 10). Assists — Sedro-Woolley: 6 (Price 4); Squalicum: 5 (Mitchell/Westbrook 2). Fouls — Sedro-Woolley: 15; Squalicum: 18. Turnovers — Sedro-Woolley: 12; Squalicum: 11.