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Basketball: Seniors lead the way
From here on out, each game is only going to get tougher for the Wolves’ boys basketball team.
Sequim moved into a first-place tie with Olympic (9-1 league) atop the Olympic League standings on Jan. 18 by overcoming a fourth-period deficit to Kingston (6-4) 51-45.
“We’ve been a middle-of-the-line team for a few years and being in that position you want to knock off the top team,” Gabe Carter said. “Everyone is going to want to beat us.”
The Associated Press also placed the Wolves in the top 10 for the 2A Class rankings at No. 10, one vote ahead of Olympic.
In Kingston, Jayson Brocklesby notched 16 points by sinking six of 12 field goals, two of four 3-pointers and two of three from the free-throw line.
Anthony Pinza scored 12 and Rory Kallappa added nine points while Carter nabbed 5 points, 11 rebounds, six assists, two steals and a block.
As a team the Wolves sank six of 17 attempted 3-pointers and a crisp nine of 11 free throws.
Sequim played North Mason (1-10) at home Tuesday night and won 67-46. They visit Klahowya (4-7) Friday. Look for a web update later this week.
Seniors speak up
The Wolves boast seven seniors this year — Brocklesby, Carter, Dylan Eekhoff, Tim Guan, Donovan Lee, Jedd Posadas, and Andrew Shimer.
Sequim’s squad may be the tightest group ever with most of its players building a bond on court years ago.
“It started in fifth grade when Jayson and me were on a team together. I don’t think we won a game,” Carter said. “But then most of us started playing together on the school team in seventh grade and in the spring of eighth grade we started playing year-round.”
Last summer, most of the team played on the Next Level summer team.
As the wins continue to roll in, the seniors agreed their teamwork is better than last year.
“Last year, the team ran a lot through Evan (Hill) and Corbin (Webb), but this year senior leaders are more across the board,” Shimer said.
“With so many seniors we don’t have to have someone tell us what our roles are to be. We just know them.”
Carter said it’s not only the seniors but everyone has a leadership role.
“We’ve all grown into it,” he said.
Whether that’s taking every practice seriously or treating every game like it’s their last, these seniors are focused.
Brocklesby, averaging a team high 19 points a game, has scored 30 or more points three times in three Sequim wins this season, but doesn’t think much about the stats.
“It’s cool to have your picture in the newspaper but it’s about the win,” he said.
Carter agreed. For him it’s about helping the team in any way he can.
Guan said he steps into the defender role most and that he and Brocklesby usually defend the opponent’s top scorers.
“I should be a shooter but it hasn’t been there for me this year,” Guan said.
“It’ll come alive in the playoffs,” Carter said.
Second-year player Shimer sees his role as a lot of different things.
“If you need me to post-up, I post-up. I can knock down a shot, too,” he said.
Carter gives props to senior bench players, too.
“Guys who don’t play a lot don’t get enough credit. (Posadas, Eekhoff and Lee) deserve a lot more than what they actually get. Dylan pushed me more than anyone else. All the practice people have helped us to get where we are today,” Carter said.
At practice, Lee sees himself making the rest of the team better.
“I work with (Anthony) Pinza at point guard and try to help Gabe by having a short guy always picking on him,” he said.
Their next play
Although college and careers are on the horizon, teammates say basketball and school are the height of their priorities.
“I’m beginning to let go of a lot of things in high school — Drama in high school, don’t care for it. People want to hang out on weekends, but I don’t really care for it. I just want to go to school, play basketball and eat Wheaties,” Carter said.
Playing basketball is a release for Guan.
“Basketball tunes (everything) out. After school it takes your mind off stuff,” he said.
Head coach Greg Glasser also changed his approach this year to accommodate his players and their confidence in each other.
“He lets us play a lot more,” Shimer said.
“It’s run-and-gun,” Brocklesby said.
“Drawing plays slowed us down too much. That’s good for an inbound play or the last 10 seconds, but we run because we’re all tall and fast.”
Carter sees the team’s recent Las Vegas tournament as a turning point where they won twice and lost once.
“I’ve been with these guys half my life and spending time with 11 other guys in a house builds your off-the-court chemistry but with the competition there your confidence goes up,” he said. “You also get to put into perspective. You don’t play down on the teams here, you recognize your potential, which was a big deal for us.”
Regardless of their successes, Shimer said, for the team to advance further in districts and to state they must continue looking forward.
“We have to be focused on the next play,” he said.
“All that stuff they say on cereal boxes is cliche, but when you get to be a senior you understand what they are saying and why you play every game like it’s your last,” Carter said.
Editor’s note: Dylan Eekhoff was unavailable for this article.