The Bear Creek School’s head basketball coach Scott Moe knows he has kids who can shoot the basketball.
On Friday during his team’s Sea-Tac 2B league matchup against Seattle Lutheran, he called for the three-point shot early and often, as the Grizzlies used the long ball and stellar defense to pull out a 44-33 victory over the Saints.
“We got some guys who can shoot (threes), so if they’re open, we want those guys to shoot it,” said Moe. “We made some big threes early.”
Sophomore guard Lucas Peterson drained two 3-pointers in the first quarter to help Bear Creek run out to a 23-12 lead at the half. The Grizzlies hit 5 of 16 from beyond the arc, including three in the first half.
“We were just trying to work it around, find open shots in the zone and try to block them inside,” said Peterson, who finished with a team-high 18 points. “We designed a new play to attack their defense and we got a lot of open looks.”
Defense also played a big role for the Grizzlies, who limited the Saints to just six field goal attempts and four points during the second period.
“I really commended our guys for stepping on the court ready to go, taking it to them, and playing poised at the end,” Moe said. “I thought our guys played extremely hard, with great defense.”
Moe and the Bear Creek coaching staff did a lot of advanced scouting of the Saints and the hard work paid off.
“Our coaching staff worked really hard on this game,” Moe admitted. “(Seattle Lutheran) played 16 games before tonight, and we had seen seven of them. We were well-prepared.”
Moe said he knew that the Grizzlies had to stop Saints’ guard Conner Mullan, who put in a season-high 27 points during his team’s last game against Rainier Christian.
The Grizzlies did a fine job of containing Mullan until midway through the third quarter when he caught fire.
The five-foot-eight senior scored 11 points in a row, including three consecutive three-pointers, to pull the Saints from a 16-point deficit to just five, as the standing-room only Saints crowd sensed a comeback in the making.
“That was our game plan, to make sure we had a hand in (Mullan’s) face, because that kid can flat out shoot the ball,” Moe explained. “We called a quick timeout and talked to the guys about their spacing and to close out on him, because he’s a great shooter.”
After the timeout, Mullan failed to score another field goal for the rest of the game as the Grizzlies came back to take a double-digit lead early in the fourth quarter and hold the Saints at bay until the final buzzer. Mullan led the Saints with 15 points.
Bear Creek junior Jamie Meyer, the league’s leading scorer, finished with 14, seven rebounds and three steals. Meyer’s teammate and good friend, Kyle Blankenbeckler, led the team with nine assists.
ONE GAME AT A TIME
On paper, it’s easy to see how dominant the Grizzlies have been all season, mowing down opponents from all over the Puget Sound region with their tough defense and great shooting.
But when asked about his goals for the postseason, Moe is hesitant to look too far ahead.
“We still got three more games left.” Moe said. “We’ve got to finish strong and then we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”
Now at 9-1 in league play and 16-1 overall, his players know that they developed into special team with great postseason potential.
“We’re feeling really good,” said Peterson. “We have confidence in each other, and we’re coming around and playing as a team really nicely at the end of the season.”