Colton Ranson made a Mount Baker school record eight 3-pointers and scored a career-high 28 points to lead the boys’ baketball team to a 57-49 win over Sultan on Monday, Feb. 9, at Sultan High School in the Class 1A District 1 Tournament.
Ranson was instrumental in the win in more ways than one, coach Rob Gray said.
“He’s the one senior with playoff experience, so you could tell he was focused and willing to carry the team on his back,” Gray said in a phone interview.
Mount Baker got off to a hot start defensively, holding the Turks to just eight points in the first half, but it had to pick up its own offense after the first quarter when it scored just four points. Luckily, the Mountaineers came back with 19 in the second quarter to take a 23-8 halftime lead.
“We did good in the first half defensively. We kept them from getting any open looks and rebounded well,” Gray said. “That carried into the third and in the fourth they caught fire.”
Sultan built a comeback attempt in the third quarter with 15 points, but exploded for 26 in the final frame to give Baker a run for its money.
“We called timeout to settle everyone down a little,” Gray said. “It is fairly new (being at districts), so we struggled with the road and hostile crowd, but we came up big down the stretch with key free throws.”
Baker’s Timothy Soares cooled off from his triple-double against Lynden Christian last week, but still contributed a big four points and 17 rebounds. He, along with the rest of the team aside from Ranson had no experience in postseason play.
“He was a little wide-eyed, but he did the things we needed him to,” Gray said of his post. “He had to defend guys who were 5-foot-9 and 5-foot-10, which can be hard when you’re 6-foot-8 and they’re speedy.”
Mount Baker advances to the second round, where it will face Northwest Conference rival Lynden Christian at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 10, at Lynden Christian.
Mount Baker 57, Sultan 49
Mount Baker: Keenan Gray 5, Jed Schleimer 2, Colton Ranson 28, Thomas Barbo 2, TJ Bass 6, Grant Balvanz 7, Timothy Soares 4, Engholm 2. Totals: 20-52 7-11 57.
Sultan: Kolton Anderson 7, Ronnie Skorka 0, Joe Schmidt 8, Tyler Johnson 0, Chris Walcott 6, Tyler Morris 12, Jordan Alexander 12, Deion Bonilla 4. Totals: 14-62 14-16 49.
3-point field goals — Mount Baker: 10 (Ranson 8*); Sultan: 7 (Alexander, Anderson 2). Rebounds — Mount Baker: 49 (Soares 17); Sultan: 23 (Bonilla 7). Assists — Mount Baker: 16 (Gray 6); Sultan: 10 (Schmidt 3). Fouls — Mount Baker: 18 (Soares); Sultan: 15 (Bonilla). Turnovers — Mount Baker: 24; Sultan: 14.