Squalicum point guard Damek Mitchell admitted his team’s Class 2A Northwest District semifinal win over Archbishop Murphy on Tuesday, Feb. 16, was ugly, but another trip to the regional round of state sure looks good.
Although the Storm led the entire game, it could never pull away, making the final seconds nail-biting stressful.
Mitchell converted some late, pressure-packed free throws, and Squalicum escaped with a 59-54 win over the Wildcats at Mount Vernon High School.
“We just got after it and hustled,” said Mitchell, who scored a team-high 17 points with six rebounds and seven assists. “Even though we didn’t make as many shots, we hustled to the ball, and we got it done today.”
The win clinched a state regional berth and advances Squalicum to the 2A district title game, where it will face Shorecrest at 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 20.
It seemed like there were times where we weren’t at our best. That is something you learn by, and fortunately we learned a lesson and it wasn't a costly one.
Squalicum coach Dave Dickson
Darious Powell scored 13 points, including three 3s, Josiah Westbrook had 12 and Creighton Kaui chipped in seven.
Squalicum on several occasions pushed its lead to double digits before Archbishop Murphy made a run, but the Storm always provided an answer with multiple players stepping up.
The Wildcats cut Squalicum’s lead to 20-15 in the second quarter, but Powell answered with a 3. Archbishop Murphy early in the second half closed the Storm’s lead to 39-33, but Mitchell connected with a triple.
5 Number of 3-pointers made by Squalicum during the second quarter
But the biggest run-stopper came from Westbrook when the senior guard drilled back-to-back 3s midway through the fourth quarter after ATM had narrowed its deficit to 45-41.
The Wildcats cut Squalicum’s lead to 56-54 with 22 seconds to play, but Mitchell hit one free throw, got a steal on Archbishop Murphy’s next possession and iced the game with two more free throws.
“I thought that this was a learning game, and I’m proud the guys grinded out a win,” Squalicum coach Dave Dickson said. “I thought it was a real team effort down the stretch.”
Guard Simran Parmar and forward Giovanni Melley gave Squalicum big-time minutes. Parmar saw lots of playing time with Mitchell and Westbrook dealing with foul trouble. He scored five points and played strong defense against ATM guard Josh Parafina. Melley was tasked with battling 6-foot-7 forward Abraham Lucas, and the Italian exchange student did a fine job, yielding only 13 points to Lucas and coming away with seven rebounds.
Game ball goes to
No doubt it’s Mitchell. The do-everything guard was dishing out dimes and scored a team-best 17 points to go with his six boards and three steals. He made the defensive play of the game, stealing a pass with Squalicum leading 57-54 with less than 15 seconds to play.
Squalicum faces Shorecrest at 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 20, at Mount Vernon High School for the 2A district title. The Scots looked mighty impressive knocking off Lynden by 19.
Squalicum 59, Archbishop Murphy 54
Squalicum: Josiah Westbrook 12, Noah Westerhoff 0, Simran Parmar 5, Josh Vail 0, Ben Wolters 3, Darious Powell 13, Damek Mitchell 17, Creighton Kaui 7, Giovanni Melley 2
Archbishop Murphy: Abraham Lucas 13, Andrew Carter 2, Trey Miller 2, Jaylon Carter 7, Houston Schmutz 6, Josh Parafina 18, Darion Joseph 2, Bailey Singh Halpin 4