Liberty’s Conner Small comes up big with state wrestling crown

February 24, 2015

Conner Small didn’t achieve the dream of a lifetime on his own. The Liberty High School senior wrestler spent countless hours working toward a state championship with his father Bill.

The process was a long and sometimes painful one — Small finished fifth as a sophomore and third as a junior — but it was ultimately rewarding as he captured the Class 2A state crown at 170 pounds to close the Mat Classic XXVII, Feb. 20-21 at the Tacoma Dome.

By Greg Farrar Conner Small, Liberty High School senior, exults to his supporters in triumph as he wins the 170-pound state 2A wrestling championship with a 7-3 win over Sedro Woolley senior Jacob Farrell on Feb. 21 during the Mat Classic XXVII at the Tacoma Dome.

By Greg Farrar
Conner Small, Liberty High School senior, exults to his supporters in triumph as he wins the 170-pound state 2A wrestling championship with a 7-3 win over Sedro Woolley senior Jacob Farrell on Feb. 21 during the Mat Classic XXVII at the Tacoma Dome.

 

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Liberty wins district girls basketball title

February 24, 2015

It’s official.

The Liberty High School girls basketball season is starting to feel mighty similar to one Cinderella-type playoff run the school witnessed in 2013.

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Issaquah girls stun Eastlake on last-second basket

February 24, 2015

Twice before, Sophie Foreman felt the heartache of having the season end with a loss to the Eastlake Wolves.

She wasn’t going to go through it a third time.

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Falcons dash Eagles’ KingCo title dreams

February 24, 2015

If someone had told Issaquah High School boys basketball coach Jason Griffith that his star player, Ty Gibson, was going to score 37 points in the Class 4A KingCo Conference tournament title game, he would’ve liked the Eagles’ chances to win.

Gibson, a senior guard who was named KingCo MVP last week, did everything he could to put Issaquah into the regional playoff round, but the Eagles came up short in a 63-60 overtime loss to the Woodinville Falcons on Feb. 19 at Redmond High School.

“Ty was phenomenal today — we just didn’t get enough pieces around him,” Griffith said. “We got to the point where we were playing guys that hadn’t seen the floor all season in tight games.”

The Eagles earned a regional berth Feb. 21, blowing past Redmond, 84-54, behind Gibson’s 33 points. They move on to play the Jackson Timberwolves in a loser-out game at 8 p.m. Feb. 28 at Everett Community College.

Issaquah (19-5), which won the KingCo regular-season crown, had to play the KingCo tourney without sophomore star Trevon Ary-Turner, who is out indefinitely with a broken finger on his shooting hand.

The Eagles also got into foul trouble against a physical Woodinville side, losing guard Scott Kellum and forward Jack Dellinger late in the game.

Woodinville (17-6) lost both regular-season meetings with Issaquah, but was able to exploit some matchups at the offensive end. Tony Miller had 23 points to pace the Falcons, and fellow seniors Demitri Ilias and Lance Coomar stepped up their games to add 16 and 14 points, respectively.

“We talked about the 2-3 zone being open in the middle, and that we really thrive on being able to penetrate some of those gaps and get to that short corner,” said Woodinville coach Mark Folsom, who led his program to its first KingCo tournament title.

In front of a packed house, the teams traded punches throughout the contest.

Issaquah opened up an early seven-point lead, only to see it evaporate as Woodinville hit its last three shots of the first quarter. The Eagles then went on a 13-1 run for a 24-11 edge in the second period, but Coomar scored nine points as the Falcons narrowed the gap to 29-26 at halftime.

Woodinville’s full-court pressure began taking a toll in the second half — the Eagles missed their first five field goals and trailed by seven before Gibson banked in a 3-pointer to end the third quarter.

Issaquah had a six-point lead in the fourth quarter, but the Falcons again charged back and tied it with 16 seconds left on a Jesse Davis free throw. Gibson missed a 3-point try to win the game for the Eagles.

The lead changed hands four more times in overtime, and Miller iced the result by hitting two foul shots with 2 seconds left. Gibson’s half-court heave came up short, and the Falcons stormed the court in celebration.

“Everybody in this gym was expecting Issaquah to win, and the only guys that believed that we could actually beat (them) were the 15 guys sitting in the locker room,” Folsom said.

Even though Gibson had a huge night, Folsom’s blueprint to focus on Issaquah guard Jason Crandall worked to near perfection. Crandall had 11 points, but couldn’t get his teammates going, as Kellum and Tanner Davis were the only other Eagles to score.

“Ty’s a very unselfish player, and it shows, but I thought tonight he was forced to try to make some plays because we did a good job on the other guys,” Folsom said.

Some Issaquah players have been in big-game moments — including last season’s run to the state semifinals — but others are still learning how to play in those situations, Griffith noted.

“I thought a couple of our kids, I felt like the moment may have been a little too much for them mentally at times,” he said. “I just saw some dazed looks out there that I hadn’t seen in a while.”

Issaquah swimmers capture fourth

February 24, 2015

The Issaquah High School boys swim and dive team didn’t win a single event at the 2015 4A state swimming championship Feb. 20-21.

By Greg Farrar Henry Pratt bends down from the podium to hug Issaquah High School coach Laura Halter as she gives him and teammates (standing, from left) Jason Klein, Gabe Florsheim and Brandon Leu their state 4A second place medals, for swimming the 4-by-100-yard freestyle relay in a school-record time of 3 minutes, 10.65 seconds.

By Greg Farrar
Henry Pratt bends down from the podium to hug Issaquah High School coach Laura Halter as she gives him and teammates (standing, from left) Jason Klein, Gabe Florsheim and Brandon Leu their state 4A second place medals, for swimming the 4-by-100-yard freestyle relay in a school-record time of 3 minutes, 10.65 seconds.

Yet, the Eagles’ top-to-bottom depth ensured the team had a spot on the podium when the meet came to a close Feb. 21 at Federal Way’s King County Aquatic Center.

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Skyline gymnast wins at state

February 24, 2015

Skyline High School gymnast Anna Olsen took the top spot on the beam at the 2015 4A state championship Feb. 21.

Olsen won the state title with a score of 9.325.

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Grappling to state — Four Issaquah wrestlers head to Mat Classic XXVII championships

February 17, 2015

The Issaquah High School wrestling team qualified four participants for the Mat Classic XXVII state championships, and placed fourth overall on Feb. 14 at the Class 4A Region 2 championships at Inglemoor High in Kenmore.

By Greg Farrar William Tickman (left), Issaquah High School sophomore, takes control of South Kitsap sophomore Ashton Schessler on the way to an 11-8 win in their second-round 106-pound bout during the Class 4A Region 2 tournament Feb. 14 at Inglemoor High School.

By Greg Farrar
William Tickman (left), Issaquah High School sophomore, takes control of South Kitsap sophomore Ashton Schessler on the way to an 11-8 win in their second-round 106-pound bout during the Class 4A Region 2 tournament Feb. 14 at Inglemoor High School.

The Eagles sent 12 participants to the regional event, and scored 85 points to finish behind champion Yelm (283), South Kitsap (153.5) and Mount Si (107).

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Skyline High School’s Nathan Swanson captures regional wrestling title

February 17, 2015

Nathan Swanson has spent a lot of time honing his craft, and the Skyline High School senior wrestler saw his perseverance pay off during regionals.

By Greg Farrar Nathan Swanson (left), Skyline High School senior, sizes up Sebastian Robles from South Kitsap in a second-round 120-pound bout on the way to his win by fall at 5:44 during the Class 4A Region 2 tournament Feb. 14 at Inglemoor High School.

By Greg Farrar
Nathan Swanson (left), Skyline High School senior, sizes up Sebastian Robles from South Kitsap in a second-round 120-pound bout on the way to his win by fall at 5:44 during the Class 4A Region 2 tournament Feb. 14 at Inglemoor High School.

Swanson won three consecutive matches and won the title in the 120-pound division, which will earn him a high seed and possibly a deeper path into Mat Classic.

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Liberty athlete earns scholar athlete award

February 17, 2015

Liberty High School senior Quinn Magendanz was one of eight area athletes honored at the National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete Awards banquet Feb. 8.

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Patriots send three wrestlers to state

February 17, 2015

Three Liberty High School wrestlers will compete at the state wrestling tournament Feb. 20-21.

Conner Small (170), Romney Noel (182) and Joanna Moreira (135) each qualified for the Mat Classic XXVII.

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