Skyline edges Eastlake 65-62

February 2, 2010

By Christopher Huber

Skyline’s Connor Gacek goes up for a shot as Eastlake’s Chad Marxen defends. By Christopher Huber

From the way Skyline High School’s boys basketball team came out of the gates against Eastlake Jan. 29, it could have been over by the end of the first half.

But that wasn’t the case as the Wolves adjusted early on, contained Skyline’s offense and nearly outlasted the Crest Division-leading Spartans.

After two straight league-game losses, Skyline spent its practice that week refocusing, said head coach J. Jay Davis. It paid off.

Skyline beat Eastlake 65-62 at a packed Eastlake High School gym. The Spartans (13-3 overall, 9-3) remain tied with Garfield for first in the 4A KingCo Crest Division. Eastlake (11-5, 8-4) is in third.

“That’s a game men win,” Davis told his players in the locker room after the game.

It was all Skyline in the first half, but Eastlake honed its defense against the 6-foot-9 Cory Hutsen and leaping Kasen Williams. Skyline led 9-0 to start the game, but Eastlake junior guard Conner Iraola scored eight straight points, including two 3-pointers, to make it 9-8. The Spartans led 13-8 going into the second quarter.

“I really liked the way we came out … with energy and focus,” Davis said. “Our focus was good from the jump.”

As focused and energetic as Skyline was throughout the game, Eastlake pulled ahead to lead 29-28 at halftime. It relied on successful perimeter shooting from Iraola and guard Dillon Pericin. Senor forward Michael Russo showed composure in the paint and shooting from the outside.

“They shoot that well. They’re very difficult,” Davis said. “Eastlake is a very good basketball team.”

Eastlake shot 49 percent from the field. Iraola finished with four 3-pointers and Pericin had 14 points, making five of seven free throws. Russo had 19 points and four rebounds.

“We played good enough to win,” Russo said after the game. “We never gave up.”

Eastlake continued its rally in the third quarter, at one point leading 41-36.

After Eastlake led 46-45 to end the third quarter, Skyline came roaring back in the final period. The Spartans strung together a quick bout of scoring in the final five minutes of the game to go up 59-57 and managed to hold Eastlake off down the stretch.

Skyline senior forward Miles Edwards played aggressive defense in the paint all night and also hit shots at crucial points in the game, including to break the 18-18 tie in the second quarter and to put the Spartans up 47-46 in the fourth.

“It was important to establish (ourselves) as king of the conference this game,” said Skyline’s Miles Edwards. “It was good to establish confidence going into the playoffs.”

Edwards made four of four free throw attempts.

“I guess I played with a chip on my shoulder,” Edwards said.

Russo said he was disappointed but confident that the two teams would meet again.

“We’ll see ‘em in the post season,” he said.

Vikings top Spartans

Skyline lost to host Inglemoor 49-45 Jan. 26 despite a big second-half comeback.

The Vikings shot to a 20-6 first quarter lead and were ahead by 13 points at halftime. Skyline outscored Inglemoor 18-9 in the fourth quarter, but couldn’t overcome the Vikings.

Hutsen had 18 points to lead Skyline.

Eagles drop two

Issaquah dropped two 4A KingCo contests last week.

The Eagles lost to Woodinville 59-50 Jan. 26, despite 20 points from Nick Price. Issaquah also lost to Garfield 62-53 Jan. 29. The Eagles mounted a strong comeback in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Bulldogs, 22-12.

Price and Derek Quan each had 12 points for Issaquah.

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