Playing its fourth game in six days in this year’s reconfigured Class 1A Northwest District Tournament may have caught up to the Mount Baker boys’ basketball team a little on Saturday, Feb. 14, at Mount Vernon High School, as the Mountaineers fell to hot-shooting Sultan 55-52 in the third-place game of the tournament.
“I think overall we didn’t come out with a sense of urgency,” Mount Baker coach Rob Gray said in a phone interview. “At times we competed and played hard, but other times we looked a little bit lost. I don’t know if it had something to do with four games in six days or what.”
As the No. 4 seed out of the district, the Mountaineers (8-17) will travel to District 2 No. 3 seed University Prep for a 7 p.m. first-round game in the Bi-District Tournament on Tuesday, Feb. 17. If the Mountaineers win, they would move on to face Lynden Christian for a trip to the regional round of the Class 1A State Tournament.
Six days earlier, the Mountaineers dispatched with the Turks 57-49 at Sultan in the opening round of the tournament, and they even led 38-37 entering the fourth quarter on Saturday. But Sultan, which shot 16 of 38 from the field and hit seven 3s, came back thanks to 13 points from Kolton Anderson and 15 from Deion Bonilla.
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“They hit some key shots,” Gray said. “Kolton Anderson and Bonilla hit 5 of their 7 3s between them. That hurt us. We didn’t get out and do good job of contesting them. Usually it’s (Chris) Walcott and (Tyler) Morris that are they’re top threats, and we held them in check for 14 points, but we couldn’t quite corral the other two.”
The Mountaineers also struggled from the free throw line in the fourth quarter, as they hit 3 of 6, compared to Sultan going 7 for 11 from the stripe in the period.
Grant Balvanz led Mount Baker with 15 points, while T.J. Bass turned in a double-double with 13 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. Colton Ranson scored nine, including a pair of 3-pointers, while Keenan Gray recorded five points and a team-high four assists.
Gray said he expects University Prep to be fairly similar to what they saw in Sultan with strong guard play and not a lot of height.
Sultan 55, Mount Baker 52
Mount Baker: Keenan Gray 5, Jed Schleimer 0, Mason Bass 2, Colton Ranson 9, Carson Engholm 0, Thomas Barbo 0, TJ Bass 13, Grant Balvanz 15, Timothy Soares 8. Totals: 19-55 10-15 52.
Sultan: Kolton Anderson 13, Ronnie Skorka 0, Joe Schmidt 7, Tyler Johnson 3, Chris Walcott 4, Tyler Morris 10, Jordan Alexander 3, Deion Bonilla 15. Totals: 16-38 16-23 55.
3-point field goals — Mount Baker: 4 (Ranson 2); Sultan: 7 (K. Anderson 3). Rebounds — Mount Baker: 37 (Bass 12); Sultan: 17 (Bonilla 3). Assists — Mount Baker: 14 (Gray 4); Sultan: 16 (Schmidt 5). Fouls — Mount Baker: 19 (Bass fouled out); Sultan: 15 (K. Anderson fouled out). Turnovers — Mount Baker: 16; Sultan: 11.