The Sequim’s boys basketball squad had to overcome a rough start to earn their first win of the season, coming from behind to take down the Klahowya Eagles in a 45-37 win in their season opener on Dec. 2.
“These are the kinds of games that you want to play early like this,” SHS head coach Greg Glasser said.
“You learn how to play in tough games for the rest of the season, and learn that you know how to come back like that.”
The Wolves had the better start to the game, leading 10-6 at the end of one quarter. That lead evaporated quickly, however, as point guard Dallin Despain and several otehr Wolves got into foul trouble in the second quarter; Despain was forced to sit out most of the period.
That swung the momentum heavily in the Eagles’ favor, including an 8-2 scoring run and 17 points scored overall in the quarter, hitting several open 3-pointers to run out to a 23-16 halftime lead.
The third quarter saw the Wolves start to work back into the game, with freshman power forward Isaiah Moore earning a tough basket despite being fouled, then went down to the other end of the court and blocked the Eagles’ next shot and drew a foul shortly after.
“He’s so patient in the post, and has so much of the game already down,” Glasser said of Moore after the game. “He’ll do whatever I ask him to, and he’s so good already even though he’s a freshman.”
Moore ended the night with eight points, plus eight rebounds and two blocks — including a key block late in the game that kept Klahowya from tying the game back up once the Wolves had pulled ahead.
Two other players were key in getting that lead: juniors Erik Christiansen and Riley Chen. Both players hit big shots down the stretch, with Christiansen hitting the go-ahead shot in the last three minutes of the game with a mid-range jumper, and then helping preserve the lead with another mid-range shot.
As the Wolves’ most experienced varsity player coming into the season, Glasser said that he’s looking to Christiansen to be a leader on the team, and felt that he definitely fulfilled that role against Klahowya, scoring 13 points and adding nine rebounds alongside some tough defensive work.
Chen drew a lot of praise from his coaches and teammates after the game, where he started in his first varsity action. “Riley was on the C team as a freshman, on JV last year, and now he’s starting on varsity,” Glasser said after the game. “That’s almost unheard of here.”
But Chen didn’t seem uncomfortable or out of place in his new role, leading the team in scoring with 14 points, including hitting three big second half 3-pointers to help the team close the gap, and drawing two key charging fouls in the third quarter that helped to keep Klahowya from extending their lead.
“I’m kind of speechless,” Chen said after the game. “This was a totally new experience, but I’m happy that my coach and teammates trusted me. I put a ton of work in (on my shooting), and I knew that I could make those shots.”
The Wolves were without a trio of expected varsity contributors, with Hayden Eaton, Zach Ballantyne and Marcus Allen all ineligible after missing practices last week. That lead to a more limited bench than Glasser would have liked, but all three players are expected to be eligible soon.
Sequim have another home game against Neah Bay at 7:15 p.m. on Dec. 4, then head to the road to play Fife in the 5th annual John McCrossin Classic on Dec. 7.
The Wolves then return to Sequim for two more home games, against Port Townsend on Dec. 9 at 7:15 p.m. and then their first Olympic League game of the season against Kingston at 7 p.m. on Dec. 11.