Spartans are one win from state tourney

February 23, 2010

By Tim Pfarr

Kasen Williams (right), Skyline junior, jostles with Woodinville forward Micah Ulland in the first quarter Feb. 19 of the KingCo 4A tournament game. By Christopher Huber

Before the 4A KingCo Conference tournament semifinal against Woodinville, Skyline High School boys basketball coach J. Jay Davis laid out his game plan: win.

That was all that mattered, he said, and the plan was for his players to do whatever they needed to do to fend off the Falcons to advance to the championship game against Lake Washington.

The straight-forward strategy worked, and the Crest Division champion Spartans took it to a physical and scrappy Woodinville, winning 46-28 at Juanita High School Feb. 19.

We had to “be more physical than they are,” senior forward Miles Edwards said. “We valued our possessions.”

It didn’t quite start out that way, though. The first half saw a combined 28 points scored and the players spent most of the time in-bounding the ball or shooting free-throws.

Defense was the name of the game this night and it made for a low-scoring contest.

“We didn’t come out as hard as we needed to,” senior forward Cory Hutsen said. “There were no easy baskets. We weren’t going hard, and in the second half we readjusted and went as hard as we could.”

Skyline led 16-12 at halftime after scoring just seven points in the second quarter. Woodinville failed to post a double-digit score in any single quarter.

Edwards attributed the lackluster first half to getting excited and losing focus after watching the high-scoring, high-energy Garfield-Lake Washington game just before their game. Lake Washington scored a mild upset by beating Garfield 77-72.

Skyline came out in the second half fired up, but with more control offensively. It extended the four-point halftime lead to 13 points to end the third quarter.

Woodinville needed a new energy down low on offense, but a tall and physical Spartan defense pressured the Falcons to take hasty shots from the perimeter. Woodinville scored nine in the third, its highest scoring quarter of the night.

It was a rough-and-tumble second half, but the referees let the teams play, despite numerous crowd objections.

“Defense, that’s our backbone,” Davis said. “It was physical and the refs let us play. Our kids adjusted and played really well in the second half.”

To Woodinville’s credit, it took away just about every other Skyline possession early on.

Skyline picked up the scoring pace in the third and fourth quarters and managed to keep the lead between 10 and 19 points.

Hutsen finished with 16 points, while Edwards scored 10, going 4-for-4 from the free-throw line. Will Parker had seven points, including making 4-of-4 free throw attempts. Woodinville’s Taylor Tarabochia led Falcon scorers with six points.

Skyline plays Lake Washington at 8:15 p.m. Feb. 26 at Juanita for the 4A KingCo championship. The winner of the game gets the league’s automatic state tournament berth. The loser plays the Greater St. Helens League No. 2 team Feb. 27 for a state tournament berth.

The Spartans and Lake Washington played just one game during the regular season with Skyline prevailing 54-53 Jan. 5.

The Spartans won their KingCo tournament opener Feb. 16, coasting by Ballard 59-36. Skyline shot to a 10-point, first-quarter lead and continued to pull away. Edwards led Skyline with 15 points and Hutsen contributed 13 points.

Patriots’ season ends

Liberty’s season came to an end Feb. 16, when the Patriots lost to Sammamish 77-54 in a loser-out, first-round 3A KingCo Tournament game.

Troy Solly led the Patriots with 12 points. Liberty ended its season at 7-14.

Christopher Huber: 392-6434, ext. 242, or chuber@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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