For a Sehome team with the largest cast of seniors in the Northwest Conference, it couldn’t have dreamed of a better way to go out at home.
Mariners coach AJ LaBree thanked all nine of his seniors during a lengthy pregame ceremony, and by game’s end against league-leading Anacortes, the Sehome nine had capped off an unforgettable week.
Three days prior to Sehome’s showdown with the Seahawks, the Mariners earned an overtime win over No. 4-ranked Lynden. And on a special night, Sehome followed the victory by knocking off its second top-five ranked team in four days, edging No. 5-ranked Anacortes 60-54 during a NWC contest Thursday, Feb. 5, at Sehome High.
“I’d say this week, my sideburns have been going gray,” LaBree joked. “Now the top of my head is going to start going gray. Just a great week by the seniors, and especially to come in here on senior night and beat one of the best teams in the state.”
In a game featuring an odd run of play — a high-scoring first quarter followed by back-to-back quarters filled with tough defense — Sehome’s offense began solving Anacortes’ vaunted 2-3 Zone, scoring 21 of its 60 in the fourth.
Mariners guard Tanner Clark scored a team-high 21 points, playing a brilliant all-around game. Leif Anderson and Leighton Kingma, who returned to the lineup for the first time in five games while waiting for a broken hand to heal, each contributed 13.
Sehome’s defense held Anacortes to its lowest scoring total since the first game of the new year and overcame Ty Johnson’s game-high 26 points on eight 3-pointers.
The win sealed a Class 2A District Tournament berth for the Mariners (15-5, 9-2 NWC). It also should give Sehome, if it were to win its final game and have Lynden beat Squalicum next week, the top seed in district play and a league championship.
“It’s a really big deal,” Clark said of the win, “because it’s a huge win for the season but also senior night, so for personal and for the seniors it was a great night all together.”
Neither team took command in the first half. After a first quarter featuring nine points from Clark and four 3s from Johnson, Anacortes led 21-19.
But after a rapid start, the game’s pace slowed.
Both offenses struggled to get good looks against the opposing defense. Anacortes went into the half leading 30-27, but Sehome took a 39-35 advantage heading into the fourth thanks to a buzzer-beating 3 by Clark.
“We talked a lot about it all week,” said Clark of executing against Anacortes’ zone. “It’s one of those times you have to take it slow, be really patient and find your openings. ... That’s what it takes, get down to the last couple of seconds in the shot clock and get a big 3 or a big layup.”
The Mariners were en route to putting the Seahawks away after Kingma converted a three-point play, giving Sehome a 49-41 lead with 4:45 to go, but Johnson, who book-ended his eight 3s with four more in the fourth, kept Anacortes alive.
But Mariners senior Langston Engle essentially put the game away, burying a 3-pointer to give Sehome a 56-50 lead with 1:05 left.
“It’s a huge shot,” said Clark of Engle’s triple. “He had a great week. He’s been stepping up and knocking down his 3s really well.”
Sehome 60, Anacortes 54
Anacortes: Jake Richards 2, Ty Johnson 26, Jordan Neville 10, Daniel McInerney 4, Trystan Lowry 0, Jacob South 0, Joe D’Ameoilo 8, David Rodriguez 4. Totals: 18-46 9-16 54.
Sehome: Langston Engle 5, Logan Deboo 4, Elijah Andrushenko 0, Sam Carroll 0, Leif Anderson 13, Duncan James 0, Marcus Montag 4, Tanner Clark 21, Leighton Kingma 13. Totals: 20-41 14-18 60.
3-point field goals — Anacortes: 9 (Johnson 8); Sehome: 6 (Anderson 3). Rebounds — Anacortes: 27 (Neville/McInerney 7); Sehome: 20 (Clark). Assists — Anacortes: 4 (Neville 2); Sehome: 5 (Anderson 2). Fouls — Anacortes: 11; Sehome:15. Turnovers — Anacortes: 5; Sehome: 7.