Issaquah boys team looks to avenge last year’s bitter end

December 3, 2013

By David Hayes

By Don Borin / Stop Action Photography Ty Gibson, Issaquah High School guard, knocks down a Skyline basketball player while driving to the basket in a game last December.

By Don Borin / Stop Action Photography
Ty Gibson, Issaquah High School guard, knocks down a Skyline basketball player while driving to the basket in a game last December.

The way last season ended for the Issaquah High School boys basketball team was a bitter pill that was hard to swallow for third-year coach Jason Griffith.

“We were basically one bucket away from making it back to state,” Griffith said.

The one basket deficit for the Eagles came in last year’s KingCo semifinals — 53-54 to Bothell. The next loss that closed the door on a return to state was a soul-crushing 75-60 loss to Inglemoor.

“That was pretty much our worst loss of the entire season,” Griffith said.

It was a season that saw the Eagles finish 15-5 and in position for a return to the state playoffs.

With the bad taste of 2012-13 season behind them, the Eagles look forward to accomplishing surpassing the bar Griffith sets for them each year.

“I preach to the kids to take it one day at a time,” he said. “But we’re capable of making a deep run at state.”

To help them achieve the goal, the Eagles have four returning starters — junior Ty Gibson (first-team All League last year), and seniors Brian Watson (second-team All League), Jake Henke and Cory Nevin. Added to the mix of senior leadership is freshman Trevon Ary-Turner.

“He’s one of the best freshmen in the state,” Griffith said. “He’s a nice addition.”

He also likes the transfer to Issaquah Addison McIrvin.

As good as the team looks on paper to Griffith, he knows it’s a long road back to state.

“It’s a process. A lot of things have to go our way,” he said.

One of the things the Eagles have to overcome, in Griffith’s mind, is making it past one of the toughest leagues in the state, from top to bottom. Griffith says the five new transfers that helped Garfield reload make them a favorite to win KingCo. The Eagles won’t have to wait to face their division rival, either, as the two face off Dec. 6 at Issaquah.

Griffith then ticked off the remaining competition and sees no break in the schedule — Skyline is always talented, while Bothell, Eastlake and Inglemoor are very solid.

“It’s going to be a battle every night,” Griffith said. “Every win last year was just by 3 to 7 points. All the losses were by a bucket or two. It’s a very competitive league.”

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