The Hawks led the whole game and cruised to a victory against the Shorewood Thunderbirds, finishing their regular season with a plus-one to the win column by a margin of 10 points, 53-43.
Besides the game itself, it was also a day of celebration in the Terraceum on the evening of Feb. 8. As tradition will have it, the last regular season home game is senior night, a night to commemorate the commitment and dedication that the seniors on the team have shown throughout their years in Terrace basketball.
For this particular team, much can be credited to the four seniors on the squad. Derek Anyimah and Gabe Altenberger are the team’s two leading scorers. Shimron Masih provides floor spacing and rebounding, as well as an interior paint presence. Finally, Gabe Powter brings perimeter toughness as well as the ability to be the team’s floor general and run the offense.
The Hawks came off of a tough loss Friday against the Mavericks, where it looked like the game belonged to the Hawks until the final two minutes when Meadowdale went on a run to seal their victory.
“It’s honestly a focus thing for us,” Masih said. “We have to stay focused on the next game. We obviously have to look back to see what we could do better, but we have to keep our eyes on the prize and keep the eyes on the future. It’s one game at a time.”
The Hawks and Thunderbirds both started off hot, only in different areas. The Thunderbirds were red hot from beyond the arc, hitting three treys from deep in the first quarter. To put that in perspective, earlier in the year when these two teams met, the T-Birds had only hit four 3-pointers the entire game.
The Hawks, on the other hand, were relentlessly attacking the paint and trying to get to the rim. Both teams were successful, but the Hawks were able to eek out a two point lead, 13-11 at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, the Hawks were able to find continuity and success through junior big man Carson Dallas who was able to make his mark on the offensive glass.
“My mindset was to stay aggressive and work on my game and slow down. Earlier in the season, I played too fast. As I’ve [progressed], I’ve slowed down and been able to find my game. Today, I found it,” Dallas said.
His rugged, energetic play led the Hawks to a nine point advantage at both the end of the second and third quarters.
“My play-style is getting boards and when I get my chances to put it up through post ups and layups, that’s my game,” Dallas said.
Approaching the final quarter of regulation, the Hawks had controlled the game’s tempo and flow practically the whole game as they never trailed the T-Birds at any junction. To help the Hawks cross the finish line with the W, Masih began to get his game going.
“Sood pulled some of the seniors aside and told us that we have to finish this game and play with the right mindset and that’s what I tried to do,” Masih said.
The Hawks were able to derail any chance of a comeback by the T-Birds and get a victory on senior night, 53-43.
“It’s special. It’s honestly special,” Masih said. “I just know in the future, when I’m hanging out with some of the guys on this team, we’ll be sitting down in a restaurant talking about this night.”
It wasn’t only the seniors who felt great about a win on senior night.
“It feels great. I absolutely love this team and I absolutely love the four seniors. When it’s all said and done, I’m going to miss these guys a lot so it was great to go out on senior night and get this win for those guys,” Dallas said.
The Hawks finish out the regular season with an in conference record of 8-4 and an overall record of 14-6, as well as securing a postseason berth to bounce back from the previous year.
“It feels good. We put in a lot of work in the offseason. We had the mindset from last year, going 6-14, to just get better and not being that team anymore. We worked hard for it, and we’re excited for what’s in store,” Masih said.
With the end of the regular season, the Hawks set their focus and sights on the postseason.
“[Our mindset is] just one game at a time. We have to execute and finish and we’re hoping to go far. The ultimate goal is [the Tacoma Dome],” Masih said.
The Hawks will host the Arlington Eagles in their first postseason game Friday, Feb. 12, at 7 p.m. in the Terraceum. When the Hawks and Eagles met earlier in the regular season, the Hawks won by 18 points, 60-42.