Colton Ranson led the game with 17 points, including four 3s, as the Mount Baker boys’ basketball team came out on top against University Prep 56-55 in the first round of the Class 1A Bi-District Tournament on Tuesday, Feb. 17, at University Prep High School.
The Mountaineers’ TJ Bass, Grant Balvanz and Timothy Soares each added 10 points. Soares also grabbed a game-high 18 rebounds for Mount Baker.
“Those four individuals have been averaging 10 to 15 points all year. They did a nice job getting others involved and it was a nice effort by them four,” Mount Baker coach Rob Gray said in a phone interview.
With the game tied at the three-minute mark in the fourth quarter, the Puma’s were able to hit a 3-point shot to go up 55-52 with a minute and a half to play. Soares got a dunk to cut University Prep’s lead with a minute to go. Trouble on the foul line late from the Pumas kept Mount Baker in the game and with seven seconds left to go, Keenan Gray drove baseline and hit a five-foot floater to give the Mountaineers a one-point lead and ultimately the victory.
Mount Baker jumped out to an early lead, finishing the first quarter up 16-10. But Mount Baker was outscored 16-9 in the second to go down by one point heading into halftime.
“We came out and hit some baskets. Colton and Grant both hit 3s to get us going,” Gray said. “They (University Prep) were able to come back and take the lead into halftime. We had some defensive breakdowns, a lack of focus and missed some scoring opportunities.”
The Mountaineers go on to play Lynden Christian next at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 21, at Mountlake Terrace High School in a winner-to-state game.
“We just want the opportunity to catch lightning in a bottle,” Gray said. “We played (Lynden Christian) twice this year. There are some things we need to get better at. We have to handle the situation, play the way we are capable and see what happens.”
Mount Baker 56, University Prep 55
Mount Baker: Keenan Gray 6, Jed Schleimer 3, Mason Bass 0, Colton Ranson 17, Thomas Barbo 0, TJ Bass 10, Grant Balvanz 10, Timothy Soares 10, Engholm 0. Totals: 20-57 10-16 56.
University Prep: Max Gregg 11, Taylor Saari 0, Thomas Butler 5, Liam Kilbourene 0, Tommy Kranwinkle 10, Sohrab Seera 0, David Fumes 0, Treon Triggs 13, Kyle Hodge 1, Jeff Garcia 2. Totals: 20-62 6-14 55.
3-point field goals — Mount Baker: 6 (Ranson 4); University Prep: 8 (Gregg, Hodge 3). Rebounds — Mount Baker: 35 (Soares 18); University Prep: 38 (Kranwinkle 8). Assists — Mount Baker: 17 (Gray 3); University Prep: 16 (Gregg 4). Fouls — Mount Baker: 14; University Prep: 16. Turnovers — Mount Baker: 12; University Prep: 8.