Two Key Wins Thrust SCC Into Postseason Chase

Ed Strong

With less than a month left in their season, SCC men’s basketball needed to make a statement to have a chance for the playoffs.

Statement made.

SCC men’s basketball picked up back-to-back key wins to put themselves back in the thick of the playoff race.

While many people were busy watching the Super Bowl last Sunday, freshman guard Antonio Stillwell, Jr. had by far the best game of his career to help lead the Phins to a big upset of second place, sixth-ranked Everett. Stillwell was a big spark off the bench as he made five of his eight three-point attempts and seven of 10 shots overall, nearly doubling his previous career-high point total of 10 by scoring 19 in a 74-70 win.

Stillwell’s 19 points complemented a business-as-usual performance from star guard Anjaylo Lloyd, who led all scorers with 25 points. SCC’s star sophomore ranks second in the Northwest Athletic Conference (NWAC) in points per game with 25.1 and has failed to score double-digit points just once this entire season in 19 appearances.

SCC became just the third team to beat the Trojans this season: The only other teams to have beaten Everett include Spokane — which is ranked fifth in the latest NWAC Coaches Poll and sits second in the East Division — and North Division leader Skagit Valley, who was undefeated until Feb. 5.

The Dolphins then backed up their close road upset with a statement win at home to open the second half of conference play, getting revenge on rival Edmonds for a seven-point loss in early January with a resounding 83-64 win. The Tritons had a quick 6-0 lead less than two minutes in, but made just one basket over the next six minutes as SCC flipped the six-point deficit into a ten-point lead and would never trail again. Edmonds got as close as 32-31 late in the first half and then 46-42 early in the second, but a 13-2 run with three Phins making three-pointers and a pair of baskets by sophomore wing Mussie Teclemariam helped seal the win.

Teclemariam recorded his second 20-point game of the season in the win over Edmonds, just missing out on a double-double as he also grabbed nine rebounds. Freshman guard Rayquan Valentine was sharp, hitting six-of-seven shots en route to 17 points, tied for his second-best output of the year. Lloyd led the team with 23, scoring at least 21 points for the seventh game in a row.

SCC is now tied with Edmonds and Peninsula for third place in the North Division with six games to go, needing to finish in the top four to earn a playoff spot. The Phins do not play Edmonds again, but will notably finish the season on Wed, Feb. 26 with a key road game at Peninsula that could decide their postseason fate.

NWAC Men’s Basketball North Division Standings (Records in division play only)
Skagit Valley (7-1)
Everett (6-2)
Peninsula (5-3)
Edmonds (5-3)
Shoreline (5-3)
Olympic (2-6)
Whatcom (1-7)
Bellevue (1-7)