Rams flatten Eagles 80-62 in Christmas tourney
December 29, 2008
By Christopher Huber
Mount Rainier runs circles around rusty Issaquah
The fact that the Issaquah boys basketball team had only played two games since Nov. 17, with no legitimate practice time in two weeks, may have been a factor in the Eagles’ loss Dec. 27 to Mount Rainier.
Most likely, though, it was because the Rams spent most of the game running the court with relative ease.
Issaquah (1-2) lost 80-62 in the opening round of the Les Schwab BCC Christmas Classic Tournament at Bellevue Community College.
“We didn’t handle their pressure very well,” Issaquah head coach Jeff Altchech said after the game. “We talked about it in practice and we just didn’t do a good job of handling their trap. We just weren’t being aggressive enough.”With the absence of starting senior forward Connor McClain, Issaquah faced a 21-11 first-quarter deficit and had a tough time reining in Mount Rainier’s Jarrell Banks and Dominique Brooks. Banks closed the first with a long 3-pointer at the buzzer and finished with 22 points and five steals. Brooks had 14 points and four steals.
The feisty Rams’ defense controlled the tempo for most of the game. Issaquah came to within eight in the second quarter with the score 28-20, but failed to work the ball down low often enough to be effective on offense.
“The biggest problem we had was that we didn’t take care of the ball against their half-court trap. And that gave ‘em a bunch of easy baskets and you can’t do that,” Altchech said.
Although Mount Rainier committed more turnovers — 23 to Issaquah’s 17 — it had more second-chance points — 11 to the Eagles’ five. The Rams also out-rebounded the Eagles 35 to 24 and shot 56.6 percent from the field. Issaquah shot just 41.2 percent.
“They were the aggressive team and then we were fighting them from behind,” Altchech said.
Issaquah kept in it physically until the end, making Mount Rainier move the ball on the perimeter. Mount Rainier’s Tyrell Lewis capped things off in the final 40 seconds with an alley-oop slam from a Bryce McPhee breakaway pass.
The Rams (4-0) are ranked fifth in Class 3A and have averaged 76 points a game thus far in 2008.
“You can’t give a good team like that a 15-point lead,” Altchech said.
In a bright spot for Issaquah, senior guard Ross Zuhl had 15 points and five steals. Senior guard Andrew Nale finished with 14 points and made six of eight free throws. Sophomore forward Nick Landdeck shot 5-for-6 from the field for 12 points and Sean Stuby had six rebounds.
Reach Reporter Christopher Huber at 392-6434, ext. 242, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Comment on this story at www.issaquahpress.com.