Wilson’s Emmitt Matthews Jr. finished with 19 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Rams to a 51-36 victory over Mountlake Terrace in Saturday’s Alliance Flooring Showdown at Highline College.
But it was Matthews’ defense that was the difference.
The 6-foot-7 junior told his coach in the third quarter that Mountlake Terrace’s Khyree Armstead, the Hawks’ leading scorer and best player, wouldn’t touch the ball again. Armstead touched the ball a few more times, but Matthews rendered him a nonfactor the rest of the way. Armstead’s only points of the second half came on a layup in the final minute.
“I don’t think (Armstead) touched it in the fourth quarter,” Wilson head coach Dave Alwert said. “We basically went to a box-and-one on him and Emmitt was the one on, and he just kind of held his ground. They were jawing back and forth in the third quarter, and hey, don’t wake up a sleeping giant.”
Armstead was the Hawks’ leading scorer with nine points.
After a 3-pointer by Mountlake Terrace’s Connor Williams cut the Wilson lead to seven points in the opening moments of the fourth quarter, the No. 10-ranked Rams went on a 9-1 run led by Matthews. His back-to-back dunks, including a left-handed finish off an alley-oop, gave the Rams their first double-digit lead. That lead grew to as many as 17 points.
Matthews scored 13 points in the second half, including six in the fourth quarter.
“He had a little bit of an ankle injury from last night, so I think he was babying it a little bit early,” Alwert said. “I thought he got tough down at the end.”
Matthews had some help offensively. Senior Londrell “Prince” Hamilton finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds. His ability to split the Mountlake Terrace defense in the second half was the spark the Rams were lacking in the first two quarters.
“He’s such a smart, high IQ guard,” Alwert said of Hamilton. “He picks his points of when he’s going to break the defense down. He also gets his teammates involved. Defensively, I thought he did a phenomenal job of just controlling the game and controlling the tempo.”
Alwert said that being challenged by the Hawks and playing in the annual showcase at Highline College is a long-term positive for his team.
“It’s a battle test,” Alwert said. “You’re playing in a dome-style, so there is no background. It gets you used to a district-level or a state-level game. Mountlake Terrace is a well-coached team, so your defense can’t really dictate what they’re doing. They were running their offense, and we had to hunker down and protect that rim a little bit.”
Mountlake Terrace 12 9 5 10 - 36
Wilson 12 13 11 15 - 51
Mountlake Terrace: Brock Davis 5, Zeke Thomas 0, Joey Gardner 2, Keegan Grayson 0, Khyree Armstead 9, Connor Williams 5, Mason Peterson 6, Brendan Hayes 9, Max Hull 0.
Wilson: Emmitt Matthews Jr. 19, Michael Doss 0, Nathaniel Stokes 9, Emani Mitchel 0, Prince Hamilton 13, Syrus Penor 4, Hunter Allen 0, Donnie Garrison 4, Anthony Stokes 2, Kiiwanis Thomas 0, Nate Norton 0, Daniel Santana 0.