Issaquah Eagles avenge loss to Newport Knights, 54-51
February 5, 2013
By John Leggett
In the early stages of the season, Issaquah High School boys basketball coach Jason Griffith predicted that it may take a while for his young squad to jell, but when it did, the product that the Eagles put on the parquet would be entertaining.
On Feb. 1, when the Newport hoopsters hit the hardwood at the Eagles Nest, Issaquah did not disappoint in that regard, as it eventually found the chink in the Knight’s armor and was able to win, 54-51.
Issaquah was seeking vengeance for a 48-47 loss to Newport on Jan. 11, when the Eagles experienced a middle-quarter sag, a problem they have been struggling to remedy all season.
The Eagles bolted out of the gate quickly in that game, outscoring the home team 16-7 in the initial frame. In the second and third quarters, Issaquah scored only 14 points.
The surge fell short as Issaquah sustained one of the four league losses it would endure in an otherwise successful league campaign, which saw the Eagles lose to undefeated Garfield twice, Newport once and Crest Division leader Bothell once to compile an 11-4 league accounting.
On Feb. 1, the Eagles avenged that earlier setback at the hands of Newport, as in each of the first three quarters Issaquah scored double figures and noticeably one more point in each of those early quarters.
“Let me just say that Cory Nevin is the unsung hero of this team,” Griffith said. “Over the last few weeks, Cory has begun to do a lot of the little things right … set picks, rebound aggressively, find the open man with his passes. It has just been great to watch him develop into such a complete player and I am glad he is on our team.”
Against Newport, Issaquah’s leading scorer was Brian Watson with 16 points. Griffith said all of the hard work Watson put in during the off-season has really paid large dividends.
“Brian put in a lot of extra hours this past summer and fall with his shooting,” he said. “He is rapidly establishing himself as one of the best jump shooters in the league.”
Defensively, Griffith said when he wants to shut down a particular opposing player he calls upon the services of Gage Lenheim.
“Newport’s best scorer is Isaac Dotson. Even though he scored a little over his average against us tonight with 17, most of those points came in the first half,” Griffith said. “When we switched Gage over to guarding Dotson in the second half, though, I think he only scored five of those 17 points in the second half.
I know Gage relished that assignment,” he added. “Dotson and Lenheim are good friends off the court, so you know Gage was going to try his best to shut him down so he could rub it in later.”