Skyline boys win KingCo basketball title

March 2, 2010

By Christopher Huber

Kasen Williams leads Spartans past Kangs 52-42

Skyline High School’s Kasen Williams pulls up for a jumper in the first quarter Feb. 26 against Lake Washington. By Christopher Huber

Kasen Williams, one of the most sought-after football players in the country, continues to prove he’s not just good at catching a football or earning high-jump titles. The junior is playing a huge part in Skyline High School’s basketball success, too.

Thanks in part to Williams’ high-flying, long-shooting antics, the Skyline boys basketball team are 4A KingCo Conference champs for the first time in school history. The Spartans are also headed to the state tournament for the second time.

In addition to Williams’ dominance in rebounding against the Lake Washington Kangaroos, he helped seal the deal with a 3-pointer in the fourth quarter.

The Spartans beat Lake Washington 52-42 in front of a packed house at Juanita High School on Feb. 26. Skyline led the entire game after the first five minutes.

“Since we were all in the sixth grade, we dreamed of hanging a banner on the wall,” senior forward Cory Hutsen said as the team and fans celebrated on the court.

Williams said he knew they had to overpower Lake Washington, especially with 6-foot-10 sophomore center Darien Nelson-Henry under the basket.

“We knew if we didn’t come out as hard as we could, they would jump all over it,” Williams said.

The Spartans opened the game with a 13-8 first-quarter lead. Lake Washington led 8-5 early on, but Skyline took control with a 13-0 scoring run into the early second quarter. The streak included Williams executing a soaring tip-dunk.

“They couldn’t jump with him,” Hutsen said. “I feel like we can play with anyone in the state.”

Although Skyline moved the ball well, the Kangaroos thwarted effective movement down low. Both teams committed costly turnovers, but Skyline led 25-16 at the break. It never looked back, holding Lake Washington to 10 points in the third quarter.

The Kangaroos got more aggressive, forced Skyline turnovers and pulled to within six points in the fourth quarter, feeding on the energy from its student section. But it wasn’t enough.

Williams likened the team’s energy this season to that of the immensely successful Spartan football team.

“Something we really needed on the team was that football energy,” he said.

Williams finished with a game-high 13 points.

“That kid, he just kind of senses his surroundings,” said coach J. Jay Davis. “When the lights come on, he’s big time.”

Hutsen had 12 points. Connor Gacek also scored 12, including seven in the third quarter.

Davis attributed the team’s success in the tournament to a deep roster and dedicated players.

“It’s about talent, obviously. We have talent … but there’s not one guy on the bench that didn’t give his all,” Davis said.

Skyline plays Jackson in the first round of the state tournament at 2 p.m. March 3 at the Tacoma Dome.

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

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