Lake Stevens boys split two road games last week, beating Stanwood 48-39 on January 25 and losing to Arlington 63-50 on January 28.
Lake’s 8-5 record in Wesco North (10-8 overall) locked up a District playoff berth for the Vikings, who clinched third place in the league standings and as of this writing they still had an outside shot at tying Monroe for second. Arlington is in line to claim its first league title in several years.
Lake 48 at Stanwood 39
Lake’s crucial victory at Stanwood was sparked by Lorin Vandegrift, 6-7 Viking center who was recently relegated to the bench. Vandegrift exploded for a double-double with ten points and ten rebounds, the majority of that coming in the second quarter when he had six rebounds and six points including two rim-rattling dunks.
Vandegrift’s play in the second quarter helped Lake to a 22-21 halftime lead, after it trailed by 10-8 at the quarter break.
Lake led by 32-31 after three quarters then broke open the game by outscoring the Spartans 16-8 in the final frame.
Lake made six of ten shots in the fourth quarter while holding Stanwood to three of 16, and the Vikings also outrebounded the Spartans by 13-9 in the period.
Gunnar Eklund opened Lake’s scoring in the fourth quarter with a 17-foot set shot. With 6:07 left Christian Gasca scored a lay-in and three seconds later he stole Stanwood’s inbounds pass for another lay-in and a 38-33 Viking lead.
Late-game court-length passes by Seth Dodge and Brady Pahukoa to Dakota Tomson and Eklund for breakaway baskets gave Lake a 46-36 lead with a minute left.
Lake’s defensive pressure on the ball crippled Stanwood’s shooting all game long. The Spartans shot 26 percent (16 of 61, including four of 23 threes) while Lake was a workmanlike 40 percent (20 of 50, including zero of four threes).
Lake outrebounded Stanwood 43-39 and committed 14 turnovers to Stanwood’s 16.
Lake’s free throw shooting was once again poor. The Vikings made eight of 16 at the line, Stanwood three of six.
Eklund had 13 points and eight rebounds, Tomson scored 12 points, Dodge had five assists and Pahukoa had seven rebounds.
Lake 50 at Arlington 63
Lake’s win at Stanwood left the Vikings with hopes of moving up in the league standings but its performance at Arlington fell far short of the mark. Arlington beat Lake by 14 points earlier this season and followed that up with a 13 point win this time around.
Lake shot 30 percent in its first loss to the Eagles and it was more of the same at Arlington, 31 percent (19 of 62, including four of 15 threes). Arlington’s shooting wasn’t much better, 34 percent (21 of 62, including nine of 26 threes) but the Eagles out-rebounded Lake by 49-39 and committed a mere seven turnovers to Lake’s 11.
Lake, which typically falls behind in the first quarter, broke out to an early 7-1 lead behind a Tomson three plus two Eklund put-backs, and pulled ahead by 10-3 on Dodge’s two free throws at the 4:27 mark.
But that proved to be fool’s gold, as the Eagles tied it 12-all at the quarter break, with Lake missing nine of its final 10 shots in the quarter (a lay-in by Vandegrift, which turned out to be his only basket of the game in eight attempts).
Griffin Ginnis single-handedly shot down the Vikings in the second quarter when he sank four consecutive threes in the first 1:57 of the quarter, pacing his team’s 21-9 scoring margin giving the Eagles a 33-21 halftime lead. Ginnis finished the game with 26 points.
Lake rallied to twice cut the margin to four points in the third quarter, on an Eklund lay-in and on Chad Paulson’s three. Paulson returned to the lineup after missing much of the season with a knee injury.
Arlington led 42-36 at the three-quarter break
Four times in the fourth quarter Lake cut the gap to four points, on two baskets each by Tomson (one of them a three) and Eklund; the latter’s lay-in with 3:50 left made it 52-48 but the Eagles outscored Lake by 11-2 the rest of the way.
Eklund led Lake with 18 points and 13 rebounds. Pahukoa had 10 rebounds. Gasca had seven assists.