The Marysville-Pilchuck boys basketball team took on the Kelso Hilanders in the battle for fourth place in the Hardwood Classic, Washington’s State Championship Tournament on March 2.
From the tip-off both teams began pushing the pace as multiple shots were put up in the first few moments of the game. The Tomahawks relied on their ball movement early as they found backdoor cuts along the baseline and created open shots from beyond the arc. By the end of the quarter, Marysville-Pilchuck was able to create a little bit of space with a 16-14 lead.
In the beginning of the second quarter the Tomahawks started to separate themselves a little more as they outscored the Hilanders 5-3, extending their lead to 21-17. Kelso began to fight back on the back of Shaw Anderson as they took the lead on a huge 16-8 run. Marysville-Pilchuck had a couple of quick scores to close out the half and tied up the game at 33-33.
The Tomahawks came into the third quarter with momentum as they found their groove and began to control the game on both ends of the court. They started the half on a 5-0 run and made sure to not give back the lead, keeping the Hilanders at bay for the rest of the quarter. Marysville-Pilchuck went into the fourth up 52-45.
In the fourth quarter Marysville-Pilchuck maintained their control and never let the score get closer than their seven-point lead. With their superior athleticism and ability to create second-chance points, the Tomahawks came away with the 71-60 victory. With the win Marysville-Pilchuck took home the fourth-place finish, highest in school history.
“So much of what we do hinges on RaeQuan and when he lets the game come to him he is incredible, but when he tries to force plays he can run into some trouble. He’s such a difference maker and the surrounding pieces all stepped up in a big way to put us over the edge. It’s a really special group and a great team effort,” said Marysville-Pilchuck Head Coach Bary Gould.
The Tomahawks senior wing RaeQuan Battle dominated the game as he had the team-high 25 points going 9 of 17 from the field and 5 of 10 from beyond the arc. Battle also filled the stat sheet with seven rebounds, three assists, one block and one steal.
Marysville-Pilchuck’s core three juniors Aaron Kalab, Luke Dobler and Cameron Stordahl stepped up in a big way. Kalab, forward, had a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds, as well as two assists. Dobler, point guard, filled the stat sheet with 14 points, two three pointers, nine rebounds, six assists and three steals. Stordahl, wing, put in points late as he scored 12, grabbed four rebounds, dished two assists and grabbed two steals.
“I’m so glad I was able to stay at home and we were able to bring this win back to M-P. I love my team and I have grown up around these guys ever since I was little, they are my brothers. Playing for my coaches and with my teammates is something I’m going to miss, but I’m excited to go out and prove myself at the next level,” said Tomahawks’ star wing and University of Washington commit RaeQuan Battle.
Marysville-Pilchuck played in two games in the State Tournament leading up to the battle against Kelso. On Feb. 28 the Tomahawks lost to the O’Dea Fighting Irish, 63-53, but came back and dominated the next round with a win against the Ingraham Rams, 80-68, on March 1.
The Tomahawks had some impressive tournament totals from their core starters Battle, Dobler, Stordahl and Kalab. Battle totaled 68 points, 26 rebounds, seven assists, six blocks and three steals. Dobler tallied 38 points, 23 rebounds, 13 assists and eight steals. Stordahl had 42 points, 11 rebounds, three assists and three steals. Kalab put up 41 points, 27 rebounds, eight assists and two steals.
In the offseason the Tomahawks will lose four-star prospect RaeQuan Battle but will return the rest of their varsity roster. Behind a strong core and another year of experience the Tomahawks will look to three-peat as District Champions and make a run at a State Title.