Finding the hot hand and playing solid defense have powered the Spartans to six wins in a row.
On Friday, it was Cort Roberson who caught fire.
“I hit my first shot, and when I see it go in right away, it opens me up,” said Roberson, who scored 39 in the Spartans’ 80-56 home win over Lynnwood.
Less than 24 hours later, it was Jake Cleary and Kaeden McGlothin who were heating up.
North Creek was “camped out on Cort and he did a good job of finding guys,” head coach Zach Ward said of the Spartans’ 60-51 win over the 4A KingCo squad.
Cleary led the team with 18 points and McGlothin had 15, including three momentum-swinging dunks.
“We needed that first dunk,” Ward said. “We were trailing by eight and it started us on a run where we took a lead.”
The Spartans went into the break trailing 27-26 before two McGlothin second-half slams helped punctuate the Stanwood rally. Mack Hepper and Connor Schlepp — who each had six rebounds — came off the bench and provided a spark, Ward said.
“We’ve definitely picked up the pace when opening up the second half in the last few games,” Roberson said. “Playing with more energy and tighter defense is what’s most improved during the season.”
On Friday, even though Roberson had 37 points through three quarters — including connecting on seven of nine 3s — the Lynnwood Royals remained within striking distance much of the time.
“We were a little flat on defense,” Ward said.
But Stanwood clamped down and outscored the Royals 20-8 in the fourth quarter to seal the deal. The Spartans were led by Roberson’s 39 and Cleary’s 16 points. Nine Stanwood players scored in the game.
“Our most successful wins are when we’re super aggressive and we’re synced on defense,” Roberson said.
A week prior, the Spartans earned a pair of victories at the Blaine Holiday Tournament. In 63-57 win over Lummi and the 76-54 victory over Blaine, the Spartans again pulled away late.
“Our defensive energy is getting better,” Ward said. “That opens things up on the offensive end, and we have some guys who can do some damage.”
Stanwood, which has risen to 10th in the 3A RPI ranking, hosts Shorewood on Wednesday and travels to Mountlake Terrace on Friday.