Sehome refused to let a second straight win slip through its clutch.
Four days removed from giving up a 10-point, fourth-quarter lead in a loss at Ferndale, the Mariners found themselves again gripping to a slight fourth-quarter edge.
This time Sehome made the plays necessary to lock up a hard-fought road win.
“We wanted to close out,” Mariners guard Leif Anderson said. “We’ve had some troubles this year. Gave some leadership, stayed focused, kept attacking and we got to the rim and got fouls.”
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Twice Sedro-Woolley cut Sehome’s lead to two points under four minutes to play, but the Mariners played poised down the stretch, earning a 61-53 Northwest Conference win Tuesday, Jan. 20, at Sedro-Woolley.
The game ended a brutal three-game stint away from home, which featured games at Lynden Christian, Ferndale and Tuesday’s game against the Cubs.
“We figured if we got two out of three we’d take it,” Sehome coach AJ LaBree said. “Three out of three would have been great, but taking two out of three at those schools, we’ll take it.”
Anderson finished with a team-high 18 points for the Mariners (11-4, 5-1 NWC), who moved into a three-way tie for second in the league standings. Marcus Montag chipped in 14 points to go with a team-high 10 rebounds, and Langston Engle added 10 points.
The play of Montag and Engle was paramount, given the recent news that standout guard/forward Leighton Kingma will be out about a month while he heals a broken hand.
Sehome and Sedro-Woolley (8-6, 3-4 NWC) entered the night as the top two NWC scoring offenses in conference play, but the Mariners’ tough man-to-man defense held the Cubs to 17 points below their average.
Senior guard Tanner Clark drew the responsibility of guarding last year’s league MVP, Jackson Price, and while Price still poured in a game-high 21, the Mariners team defense made the Cubs work for their points.
Price, who was limited to three fourth-quarter points, recorded seven assists, and Mason Elms contributed 14 points for the Cubs.
“I think the guys, they came together well as a team defensively,” LaBree said. “Sedro-Woolley has so many offensive weapons, and shoot the 3 so well that we didn’t play zone at all. Everybody had an assignment. They knew their assignment. Subs came in, and everybody stuck to that game plan. If you told me we were going to come here and hold Sedro to 53, I’d take that any day.”
Engle gave the Mariners a good early boost, scoring seven first-half points while helping Sehome build a 27-21 halftime lead.
But while the Mariners led the entire game, with an exception of a 2-0 Cubs lead to start, Sehome could never next shake its Skagit County opponent.
Two converted three-point plays by Engle to start the second quarter gave Sehome an 18-10 edge before the Cubs rallied back to trim the deficit to 23-21 with 2:05 left until the break.
Four consecutive Anderson points gave Sehome a 31-24 third-quarter advantage midway through the period, but again Sedro-Woolley kept the game close by quickly cutting the lead to 31-30.
The Mariners led 52-48 with under two minutes to go until Anderson seemingly put the game out of reach, taking his defender off the dribble into the lane before pulling up and nailing an off-balance mid-range jumper that gave Sehome a six-point edge with 1:40 to play.
The Cubs came within three points, 55-52, with 30.3 seconds left, but Montag and Clark made most of their free throws in the waning seconds to seal with victory.
Besides Engle’s strong first half and Montag’s big second-half, Duncan James, Elijah Andrushenko and Sam Carrol gave the Mariners quality minutes.
“Our seniors, Elijah, Langston, Marcus had a great game,” Anderson said. “Duncan really toward the end, gave some leadership in the huddle. Sammy had a couple big layups, and just everybody. Anyone can put up points, do the little things. Leighton, we are going to miss him, but he knows we got him.”
Sehome next hosts Blaine at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 23, at Sehome High School.
Sehome 61, Sedro-Woolley 53
Sehome: Langston Engle 10, Logan Deboo 0, Elijah Andrushenko 2, Sam Carroll 4, Leif Anderson 18, Duncan James 6, Marcus Montag 14, Tanner Clark 7. Totals: 20-51 16-24 61.
Sedro-Woolley: John Gaethle 4, Cade Isakson 3, Ethan Isakson 3, Jackson Price 21, Will Enniss 2, Mason Elms 14, Chad Wilberg 6, Anthony Cann 0. Totals: 19-47 13-26 53.
3-point field goals — Sehome: 5 (Anderson 4); Sedro-Woolley: 2 (C. Isakson/Price 1). Rebounds — Sehome: 37 (Montag 10); Sedro-Woolley: 27 (Enniss 6). Assists — Sehome: 5 (Clark/Montag 2); Sedro-Woolley: 7 (Price 7). Fouls — Sehome: 21; Sedro-Woolley: 17. Turnovers — Sehome: 14; Sedro-Woolley: 10.