LEAGUE CHAMPS!MIKE ANDERTON | CONTRIBUTING WRITER Viking boys win at Everett 44-34 Lake Stevens boys clinched at least a tie for the Wesco North title with a 44-34 win at Everett on Feb. 9. Two nights later, when Stanwood fell to Snohomish, Lake (14-2 in Wesco North, 17-3 overall) claimed the championship outright. It is Lake’s first league crown since 1996.
The Vikings were slated to open Northwest District play by hosting either Snohomish or Edmonds-Woodway on Feb. 17.
Lake 44 at Everett 34
The offense sputtered (Lake shot just 34 percent for the game) but, as has often been the case in the latter half of the season, defense, rebounding, and all-around fundamental basketball pulled the Vikings through.
As usual, Sean Stickney and Shane Kaska shouldered the bulk of Lake’s scoring, with 15 points apiece. Stickney came through with his usual double-double, adding 10 rebounds, and Kaska topped that with 14 rebounds (plus four assists and two steals).
Everett slowed the pace and played some sticky defense, staying in contention until late in the game, when Lake was able to slowly pull away by sinking nine of 14 free throws in the fourth quarter. Stickney scored nine of his points during the quarter.
After Aaron Maw’s three gave Lake a 12-9 lead with two and a half minutes left in the first quarter, Lake made only one field goal (in 13 attempts) for the remainder of the first half, to fall behind by 13-12 at the quarter break and 20-16 at halftime.
Three-point shooting proved pivotal for Lake in the third quarter. Ryan Legg ended Lake’s long field-goal drought with a three at 5:42 to bring Lake to within 20-19, and Kaska’s three at 4:55 tied it at 22-all. Stickney’s rebound basket at 2:26 put Lake ahead 24-23, and another three by Kaska near the end of the quarter upped the lead to 27-23. It was 27-25 entering the fourth.
Stickney’s put-back made it 29-25 but a three by Everett’s outstanding senior forward, Flynn Mattson, cut that to 29-28, which proved to be the Gull’s last hurrah.
Viking defense allowed just one Everett basket in its final nine attempts after that (another Mattson three).
Meanwhile Lake was parading to the free throw line, where it salted away the gritty win, by a final of 44-34.
Lake committed 17 free throws to Everett’s 11 but that was more than offset by Lake’s command in the rebound department, 38 to 21.
Mattson, with 14, was Everett’s lone double-figure scorer.
Stickney for Wesco North MVP?
Is there a more valuable player in Wesco North than Sean Stickney? The senior postman averaged a double-double for the season (double figure scoring and double figure rebounding) and was tenacious in the middle of Lake’s zone defense. An enthusiastic competitor, he led by example and was a consistently strong performer in every game. Lake’s three losses in the regular season all came when Stickney spent considerable time on the bench because of foul trouble.