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By David Pan 

Nelson leads Meadowdale past Edmonds-Woodway | Boys basketball


January 24, 2019

The last time Meadowdale defeated district rival Edmonds-Woodway Cole Nelson was in middle school.

Nelson and the Mavericks have grown up quite a bit since then.

The sophomore guard scored a career-high 25 points, including seven 3-pointers, to lead Meadowdale to a 66-47 victory over the Warriors in a Wesco 3A boys basketball game Friday, Jan. 18, at Edmonds-Woodway High School.

“It’s a big win,” Nelson said. “We haven’t come into their place and beat them for four-plus years. To come out and beat them by 20, it’s a huge for our team.”

The Mavericks’ last win over the Warriors was in 2015.

Seniors Nick Buckley, Ray Free and Kade Styles each scored 10 points for the Mavericks (5-4 in the league, 9-6 overall), who sprinted out to a 19-5 lead after the first quarter.

As expected the Warriors (5-4, 9-6) responded in the second quarter. Edmonds-Woodway outscored Meadowdale 14-2 to start the period to cut the lead to 21-19. The Warriors later tied the score at 23 before the Mavericks scored back-to-back baskets to go into halftime with a 27-23 lead.

“We told them before the game they’re going to go on a run. There’s no way you play that team for 32 minutes and they don’t go on a run,” Meadowdale coach Roger O’Neill said. “They gave us a real big shot in the second quarter, but because we had build that lead in the first quarter we were able to withstand it and go into halftime up four.

“We always tell them at halftime ‘let’s go make the first run of the second half’ and we did. Luckily, we were so locked in defensively tonight they didn’t have a second run in them.”

Edmonds-Woodway actually took a 28-27 lead after senior Karsen Tjarneberg hit a 3-pointer and senior Tai Starchman followed with a 2-point basket.

Meadowdale, however, wasn’t going to be denied. The Mavericks went on a 19-3 run to reestablish a 46-31 advantage. Nelson connected on two 3-pointers and a 2-point shot during the run.

“I was feeling it,” said Nelson, who made 7 of 10 3-point shots. “My confidence was super high. Whenever I was open, I would just shoot it.”

Edmonds-Woodway trimmed the Meadowdale lead to 48-37 early in the fourth quarter before the Mavericks pulled away with Nelson connecting on four 3-point shots and a putback basket.

“When you do things right … when you get in the right spots, the ball finds its way into the net,” O’Neill said. “We’ve been saying all year, we have good shooters. The last couple of games the ball has really started to fall from the perimeter. I think it’s a matter of guys getting their varsity experience and legs under them and the game can slow down for you. Now you just go make shots.”

Meadowdale also outrebounded Edmonds-Woodway 44-28.

“We dominated on the glass,” O’Neill said.

Senior Chinedu Acholonu led the Warriors with 19 points. All-league guard Mutdung Bol was held to 10 points and did not attempt a free throw all night.

“He’s so talented and he does such a nice job of getting to the line because he has great body control,” O’Neill said. “For us not to send him to the line once is just a testament to how locked in our guys were defensively and in the right spots.”

Warriors coach Robert Brown attributed the loss to poor shooting. Edmonds-Woodway ended up making about 27 percent from the field, well below the target of 45 percent.

“We’re just very inconsistent in the way we started the game,” Brown said. “That comes with inexperience.”

The Warriors are struggling both with their shot selection and making their shots.

“I think it’s a combination of the two,” Brown said.

The Edmonds-Woodway coach praised the Warriors’ effort in the second period.

“They competed,” he said. “They got back into it after playing defensively well in the second quarter.”

Brown is looking for more consistency.

“We’re not doing very well defending the half-court,” he said.

O’Neill is hoping to use Friday’s victory as a springboard for the final three weeks of the regular season.

“This is repeatable. It’s not like we caught lighting in a bottle,” O’Neill said. “This is how we should be play moving forward. This is what we’re capable of.”


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