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Originally published Friday, January 16, 2009 at 12:00 AM

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WesCo boys basketball: Mountlake Terrace smothers Meadowdale

The win for the Hawks came after a Tuesday loss to Jackson, a defeat compounded by a defense that allowed 70 points.

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MOUNTLAKE TERRACE — There was dense fog outside, but inside the Mountlake Terrace gymnasium the WesCo South boys basketball race finally took on a measure of clarity.

Mountlake Terrace emerged from a three-team tie atop the league standings with a 48-42 win over Meadowdale.

The win for the Hawks came after a Tuesday loss to Jackson, a defeat compounded by a defense that allowed 70 points.

"This is a bounce-back win for us," Mountlake Terrace coach Nalin Sood said after his team improved to 8-3 overall, 8-1 in conference. "I can't take anything away from Jackson, but we're not going to win many games when we give up 70. We had to play better half-court defense, and we did."

It was an emotional win for Mountlake Terrace. Earlier in the day, the entire team attended the funeral of original Terrace basketball coach Merle Blevins, the man who started the program in 1961 and one of only three boys basketball coaches at the school.

"We wanted to win this one for him and his family," Sood said. "He meant so much to this program. It was a sad day for Terrace basketball, but we ended it on an up note."

Tyler Stracener, a 6-foot-8 center, was a force for the Hawks with 14 rebounds and 10 points.

"There's no reason he can't be almost a double-double guy every night," Sood said. "He has tremendous fundamentals, he has a nonstop work ethic and he's a big body in there."

Meadowdale (8-3, 7-2) got 23 points from Roger O'Neill, but 13 came after Terrace opened the second half with a 10-3 run to take control.

"He is a really good player and he earned his points, but it was a really good defensive effort from our team," Sood said.

"They played very fundamentally sound defense," Mavs coach Chad McGuire said of the Hawks. "They contested every shot.

"Give them credit. As a result of their defense, they got easy hoops on the other end."

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

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