Spartans’ season of firsts ends in eighth place at state

March 9, 2010

By Christopher Huber

Cooper Pelluer (11), Skyline senior forward, and senior forward Corey Hutsen double-team Mead’s Taylor Farnsworth during the second quarter of the Spartans’ battle for fifth and eighth place in the state 4A tournament at the Tacoma Dome. By Don Borin

The 2009-2010 season was a season of firsts for the Skyline High School boys basketball team. Skyline brought home its first tournament trophy — Barlow Trails Classic — won its first 4A KingCo Conference championship and placed at the state tournament for the first time.

And after placing eighth in state, the Spartans will get to hang their first banner on the wall in the gym, coach J. Jay Davis said.

Skyline went 2-2 in the state 4A tournament in the Tacoma Dome March 3-6 to finish its most successful season in the school’s 13-year history.

“Twenty-two wins and placing at state, it’s obviously the best season in school history and we’re very proud of that,” Davis said. “Our goal was just to build the best program we can.”

As is every team’s dream that enters the state tournament, Skyline had aimed at the state title. But the prospect was cut short when the Spartans lost its first-round game to eventual runner-up Jackson, 45-43.

Skyline led nearly the entire game March 3, but back-to-back turnovers in the final minute proved costly as Jackson scored off the miscues to stifle the KingCo champ Spartans’ momentum. Skyline entered the tournament with a seven-game winning streak.

Will Parker led Skyline scorers with 14 points. Cory Hutsen had 11 and Kasen Williams had 10.

“We were excited about playing well,” Davis said. “The hard thing about Wednesday, when you lose by two … was that you had to refocus.”

In the consolation rounds, Skyline managed to beat Davis 55-44 to stay alive. It trailed 20-13 at halftime March 4 and rallied with 15 points in the third and 26 in the fourth. Williams led all scorers with 19 points and Hutsen finished with 16.

Still in the consolation bracket, Skyline pulled off a 63-60 victory against Stanwood on March 5. Hutsen led with 24 points and helped Skyline maintain a 26-23 lead at the break. Stanwood outscored the Spartans 19-13 in the third quarter, but a 24-point fourth period sealed the deal. Parker and Connor Gacek each added nine points against Stanwood.

Mead brought plenty of challenges on both sides of the ball against Skyline on March 6, Davis said. The two teams battled for the fifth-place spot and Mead came out on top 49-39. Mead’s tight defense forced Skyline to shoot from the perimeter and when that became ineffective, they tried to push it inside to Hutsen.

“They were just very focused and … it seemed like it was very important to them and they played that way,” Davis said. “We struggled. It wasn’t us, it was them. They played very physical and we struggled.”

The teams tied 8-8 to end the first quarter and Mead led 20-15 at halftime. Skyline scored just 20 points in the first three quarters. Hutsen finished with 10 points in the team’s final game. Miles Edwards had nine.

And when it was all said and done, Davis was named KingCo Conference coach of the year, said Skyline athletic director Kevin Rohrich.

“In a week, in a month … when we think back we won’t remember the Mead game, the Jackson game, we’ll remember the journey,” Davis said.

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

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