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M-P tops Ferndale in District tourney

 

Andrew Kneeland

M-P's Cole Grinde (No. 24) guards his Ferndale opponent last Saturday. The Tomahawks made a fourth-quarter comeback and won, 56-53.

The Marysville-Pilchuck boys basketball team teetered last weekend against Ferndale in the opening round of the 3A District Tournament, but they didn't fall.

The third-seeded Tomahawks took their first lead late with just a few minutes left in the game, and with the help of Bryce Juneau's 15 fourth-quarter points, staved off sixth-seeded Ferndale's upset bid. Marysville won on Valentine's Day by a final score of 56-53.

The Tomahawks advanced to the semifinal round, and will play second-seeded Glacier Peak on Feb. 18, at 6 p.m., at Jackson High School.

Pilchuck's first few quarters of postseason basketball left fans in the Jim Linden Fieldhouse underwhelmed. Ferndale displayed more hustle and more muscle, and quickly jumped ahead to a double-digit lead. It didn't take long for the Tomahawks to realize that the Golden Eagles came prepared to topple the Tommies, and wouldn't let much stand in their way. The coveted prize: a shorter bracket, and a higher chance of reaching the Regional Tournament. The loser would fall to the consolation bracket and be forced to win three straight games to fend off elimination.

Ferndale scored a consistent 15 points in each of the first three quarters, and led Pilchuck by six points going into the final frame. Senior Cole Grinde was whistled for a technical foul mid-way through the quarter – the fourth of the game, for a variety of offenses – and then the Tommies rallied. Juneau hit a three-pointer, Michael Painter made a three-point shot of his own, and Juneau followed that with another. And another make, followed by another. All told, Pilchuck went on a 13-0 run, with 10 of those points coming from the hands of the team's junior guard.

Pilchuck rebuffed Ferndale's last-second possession to clinch the win.

Juneau led all scorers with 24 points, and Grinde added 13 points. Pilchuck's other three starters – Michael Painter, Josh Bevan, and Nate Heckendorf – combined to score just 18 points, with just five of those coming in the second half. Shots didn't bounce Marysville's way for much of the night, but Juneau and Grinde provided enough offensive firepower to win.

 

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