Mountainside boys basketball has plenty to prove this season after graduating all but two significant contributors from its first state tournament team.
But the Mavericks got off to a terrific start Friday night at reigning 6A champion Tualatin. Led by sophomore point guard Brayden Boe, they rallied from down 12 points in the third quarter for a 54-52 win over the Timberwolves, No. 4 in the OSAAtoday preseason 6A coaches poll.
“It's great, but we're looking to do more,” said the 6-foot-4 Boe, who had a team-high 14 points to go with six rebounds and five assists.
In only its fourth year, Mountainside reached the 6A semifinals last season. To keep that momentum, the Mavericks are counting on big seasons from Boe, who already has college offers from Portland and Seattle University, and junior guard Quinn Haveman, the other player who got meaningful minutes last season..
“If we play good, we're hard to beat,” said Havemen, who had 10 points Friday. “We've just got to fix a couple things, and I think we've got it. We've still got a lot to learn. But we had a great start, for sure.”
Blake Thune, a 6-3 senior guard, made three three-pointers and scored 10 points against Tualatin. Jaylin Ormond, a 6-5 senior post, had seven points, five rebounds and three blocks.
The victory was particularly gratifying for the Mavericks considering they lost 61-58 at Tualatin last season, a game in which Boe had a three-point attempt with a chance to tie at the end.
“Left corner with about 15 seconds left, I missed it,” Boe said. “It still sticks with me. So tonight feels good.”
Mountainside also got a measure of revenge for the football team, which lost at Tualatin 53-21 in the 6A quarterfinals. Mavericks coach Dustin Hewitt said the football players in his class reminded him.
“I'm glad we were able to do that for Coach Mannion and the guys,” Hewitt said, referring to football coach John Mannion. “And all our seniors from last year, hopefully they're fist-pumping Maverick pride tonight.”
Down 36-24 in the third quarter, Mountainside got two three-pointers each from Thune and freshman Eli Vizconde to draw within 43-40 after three quarters. Boe scored on a drive, then converted an alley-opp pass from Thune to put the Mavericks ahead 46-45 with 5:56 left.
Ormond completed a three-point play and Reyes knocked down a three-pointer off an assist from Boe for a 52-47 lead with 3:20 left. Tualatin closed within 54-52 and had possession with six seconds remaining, but the Mavericks knocked the ball loose and forced a held ball with one second to go, regaining possession.
“Credit to them for just grinding and grinding,” Hewitt said of his players. “We were down 10, and it looked bleak there. We were having a hard time putting the ball in the basket. And they just kind of played together. No one was chirping at each other. I saw that as a true team win.”
Boe, a standout receiver on the football team, has come back bigger and stronger. After playing an off-ball role last season, he has taken over the point for the graduated Dimitri Cohen.
“Dimitri, I had him for four years in our program, and I was just 100 percent confident in him,” Hewitt said. “Not that I don't have that in Brayden, but I only have one year of him being a complementary piece. So tonight was awesome to know that he could do that on the road, against the state champs.”
Boe showed off his passing ability by finding open teammates under the basket and at the three-point arc.
“His vision is next-level,” Hewitt said.
Haveman said of Boe: “Man, he's a hell of a player. I'm really, really thankful to play with him.”
Boe is still making the adjustment to basketball after the long football season.
“It's good taking a break from basketball, so you don't get burned out,” Boe said. “I love playing both sports, and it's definitely helped with physicality.”
Like Mountainside, Tualatin will have some growing pains as it copes with replacing four starters and the head coach. And the Timberwolves, coming off their first state title, know that opponents won't be cutting them any slack.
“Defending state champs, everybody's going to want a piece of us,” said first-year coach Bubba Lemon, who replaced Todd Jukkala. “Our kids hopefully will rise to the occasion.
“It's going to be a fun ride, but it's going to be a hard ride. So we've just got to get these guys together.”
Tualatin is building around senior guard Josiah Lake, the lone returning starter, and 6-8 junior wing Jaden Steppe, a key player off the bench last season.
Lake scored 15 of his 17 points in the first half Friday, making four three-pointers. Steppe scored 14 of his team-high 18 points in the second half.
Steppe had a choppy start as he tried to slash from the wing, but found success inside after moving to the post. Steppe, who had sat out for a few days with a hip flexor strain, was visibly frustrated as he tried to find his rhythm.
“I felt like I let the team down a little bit,” Steppe said. “It was just more of a mental thing, it wasn't physical. It was just I hadn't played in a while, and the game was fast for me. … I've never played that bad in the last three years.”
Steppe said his teammates “did what they were supposed to. I feel like this one's on me. And I won't let it happen again.”
Summit's Pearson Carmichael, a 6-7 junior wing who committed to Boise State in October, lived up to his offseason hype by pouring in 35 points to lead the Storm to a 72-62 home win over South Medford on Saturday.
Carmichael, who averaged 7.4 points in a reserve role for a 6A runner-up team last season, lit up the Panthers for 24 points in the first half. He finished 13 of 21 from the field, including 5 of 10 from three-point range, and had eight rebounds and three assists.
“It was nice to see him come out as well as he did,” Summit coach Jon Frazier said. “We kind of rode him in that first half until the rest of the guys settled down. It was great to see him step in that role and be comfortable in it. He had a great night.”
The Storm, which moved to 5A this season, lost its entire starting lineup from a team that finished 27-1. Summit, No. 1 in the OSAAtoday 5A coaches poll, will be leaning heavily on Carmichael and junior guard Collin Moore, the first two players off the bench last season.
The 6-2 Moore has moved from off-guard to point guard.
“He should be one of the best players at the 5A level,” Frazier said of Moore. “He's super talented.”
The Storm also got a boost with the addition of 6-7 junior wing Miguel Taylor, a transfer from Benson. In the opener, he had 14 points, five rebounds and three blocks and played solid defense on standout sophomore guard Boden Howell, who scored a team-high 19 points for the 6A No. 7 Panthers.
“He's going to have a very good year for us,” Frazier said. “Having Pearson on one side at 6-7, and having Miguel on the other side at 6-7, just long wings, it gives us a lot of athleticism.”
Summit is loaded with height this season. The Storm has seven players 6-4 or taller, including 6-5 senior Hogan Carmichael, the quarterback for the state champion football team who will be a "glue guy," according to Frazier.
“Last year it was all these little guards that could shoot it,” Frazier said. “This year, all of the sudden, we're 6-4 to 6-7, just all these long wings that can run up and down and trap. We're going to play a lot differently this year.”