McLaughlin Notches 31 in Peninsula Victory Versus Auburn By Steven Dion
Friday- January 23
Auburn High School
Peninsula Junior JaQuori McLaughlin
The high school basketball regular season is in the home stretch and the sprint to a league title is winding down. South Puget Sound League’s 3A division features Peninsula at the top with Auburn-Mountainview and Auburn with several other teams in the middle of the pack. The Seahawks would pay a visit to the Trojans on Friday night for an important league matchup.
From the opening tip, this contest was a real slobber-knocker as both teams had difficulty retaining possession and putting together offensive production. Auburn’s tenacious interior defense created several takeaways and kept the Hawks off the scoreboard until the 5:33 mark. Unfortunately, the Trojans did not fully capitalize on their defensive effort as they trailed 4-2 with 3:18 left in the first quarter. University of Washington commit JaQuori McLaughlin recorded his second personal foul early which relegated the Peninsula guard to the bench.
In the second frame, reserve Patreon Lee gave AHS a boost by knocking down some big buckets and firing up his teammates. The ping-pong nature of the game continued and the game was all knotted up at 22 apiece midway through the quarter. In the final possession of the half, Auburn hoisted a desperation shot and was fouled in the process by McLaughlin for his third of the game. The scoreboard read 30-28 in favor of Peninsula halfway through.
The second half began the way the first did for Auburn as their defensive intensity sparked their production. The Trojans grabbed a 39-34 lead midway through the third. Malik Williams ignited the AHS throughout the game as he led his team with 24 points and set the tone on the defensive end. His counterpart McLaughlin was forced into tough shots, but got his fair share to fall toward the end of the third.
Leading by three as the fourth started, Auburn was in prime position to complete the upset. However, Coach Jake Jackson’s Seahawks had another plan. They rolled off a 10-0 run with buckets by Garrett Smith and Austin Kingman. Williams knocked down a pair of threes to get Auburn back on track, but the Hawks kept the pedal down. Leading by a half dozen with two minutes remaining, PHS retained their lead to the end and picked up a tough division victory.
The Final Score: Peninsula 69 Auburn 62
Top Performers: Peninsula
JaQuori McLaughlin-31 points (11/13 FTs)
Auburn-Mountainview Escapes Tornados Down the Stretch By Steven Dion
Friday- December 26
Kennedy Catholic High School
Auburn-Mountainview Junior Victor Daggs
Day one of the 2014 Christmas Classic presented by Oberto matched up 3A SPSL representative in Auburn-Mountainview and Yelm of the 4A Narrows. Advancement to the second round in the winner’s bracket was on the line as the team that prevailed will take on the winner of the Kennedy Catholic/Cascade Christian game which would follow this one. The intriguing matchup in this game would be how the dynamic guards of AM in Victor Daggs and Ryan Lacey would fill the scoresheet against versatile forward Christian Davis of the Tornados.
The Lions captured an early lead in the game as 5 players scored in the opening quarter. Conversely, Yelm could not buy a bucket to start the game as their first points came nearly five minutes into the game. The scoring drought ceased quickly as Davis sparked a second quarter Yelm run. The 6’4 junior tallied 15 points in the second quarter as part of his game-high 27 points which helped the Tornados chip away at the early deficit they dug themselves into. On the other end of the floor AMHS’ Lacey notched nine of his own to maintain a five point lead heading into halftime. With a scoreboard reading 38-33 into the break, this game was shaping up for an exciting finish.
Auburn-Mountainview’s head coach Thomas Ostrander appeared to address his team’s size advantage during halftime as his 6’10 center Tristan Miguel played a major role in the pivotal third quarter. His rebounding on both sides of the floor led to second chances on offense and limiting Yelm’s time of possession. Miguel had 7 big points in the third which the Lions went on an 11-6 run in just under 5 minutes. However, early foul troubles by the Lions helped Yelm enter the double bonus with over 2 minutes remaining in the third quarter. At the third quarter buzzer, AM heaved a desperation throw from near mid-court. In a lapse of discipline, Yelm fouled the shooter giving Moutainview 3 free throws. This gave the Lions an 11 point lead heading into the fourth. That margin ballooned by an additional 14 points in the final 8 minutes as the 7 Lions scored in the fourth quarter while limiting Yelm to only 8 points. Auburn-Mountainview knocked down 17 of their 25 free throws in the contest en route to a big opening round win.
The Final Score: Auburn-Mountainview 83 Yelm 58
Top Performers: Auburn-Mountainview
Victor Daggs and Ryan Lacey-18 points
3A State Finals Preview, Bellevue vs. Eastside Catholic Round 3 By Colin Caruso
The Bellevue Wolverines have won 67 straight games, a streak that goes back to 2010 when Mat Taylor’s Skyline Spartans topped them in a regular season contest. They routinely schedule games against the top teams out of state, this year against Serra (CA), and routinely pull off convincing victories. They are dominate, fast, big and strong. The Wolverines are in search of their 7th consecutive state title, and standing in their way is the Eastside Catholic Crusaders.
Eastside showed their grit last year in advancing past the O’Dea Fighting Irish to the state finals, to meet the Wolverines in a 425 clash. The game wasn’t much of a contest, coinciding with the Wolverines season, and ended in a 52-20 route. This year will prove to be much closer than that. One of the states finest running backs, Brandon Wellington, is now a junior and is playing the best football of his life. Junior quarterback Harley Kirsch is also a year older, more mature, and is prepared for a matchup against one of the finest teams in the nation.
The big question at hand, are the Wolverines vulnerable? They showed hints of vulnerability last week against Marysville-Pilchuck. Can the Cru’ end the streak? I don’t think it’s in the cards just yet, but hey, it has to happen sometime, right?
Bellevue Takes Route 66 over Peninsula By Colin Caruso
These Bellevue Wolverines, who seem to never lose, just rattled off their 66th straight win, with a fine 31-7 performance over the Peninsula Seahawks on Friday night in the Washington State quarterfinals. The Wolverines, led by Sam Richmond on the ground were able to capitalize on an unfortunate injury for the Seahawks.
Big number 77, Caleb Greer for the Seahawks went down with an ankle injury late in the second quarter, in just a 3-0 ballgame at that point. With this injury on the interior line, Bellevue was able to score quickly with a Sam Richmond touchdown.
Greer was able to return in the second half, but was limited by his injury and did not finish the contest. This opened up running holes all over the field for the Wolverines, who put up 21 straight in the third quarter to take a commanding 31-0 lead. Peninsula was able to score on a great throw by Robert Kvinsland to Kyle Olson-Urbon midway through the fourth, but it was too little too late for the Hawks.
Bellevue’s defense was menacing throughout, only allowing 6 total yards in the first half. Bellevue will advance to the state semifinal to take on the winner of Marysville Pilchuck and Columbia River.
Top Performers: Peninsula
Robert Kvinsland – 14-24 for 139 yards and 1TD
Sam Richmond – 23 carries for 159 yards and 1TD
3A State Football Rankings By Steven Dion
Marysville-Pilchuck has been on everybody’s mind. The Tomahawks took on Meadowdale with a packed house looking on, they got the win. We have broken down the top 10 Washington State 3A Classification Teams for you.
1) Bellevue 8-0, 6-0 League The Wolverines rattle off another undefeated regular season. They have a great chance to raise the hardware in December once again.
2) Eastside Catholic 8-1, 4-0 League Undefeated against teams from Washington and 1-1 out of state record. This may be Thielbahr’s best chance to capture a state title.
3) O’Dea 8-1, 4-1 League Monte has rested the best tailback in the state through the latter half of the season. Myles Gaskin and the veteran lineman from the Irish have a playoff run in them.
4) Marysville-Pilchuck 7-1, 4-0 League The community has rallied around this team in the wake of tragedy and they are responding by playing great football heading into the postseason.
5) Lincoln 9-0, 7-0 League An undefeated regular season gives the Abes another crack at the best 3A has to offer. Will Kitna be able to make another step and overtake the elite teams in the postseason?
6) Peninsula 8-1, 7-0 League After losing a one-point game in the season opener against Gig Harbor, the Seahawks have won eight straight en route to a 3A SPSL title run.
7) Auburn-Mountainview 8-1, 6-1 League The Lions have plenty of talent at the skill positions to make some noise in the playoffs, but a push to the Tacoma Dome will be a tall task for a team with limited postseason experience.
8) Oak Harbor 6-1, 4-0 League Hats off to the Wildcats for awarding the 3A Wesco League title to Marysville-Pilchuck. That game projected to be great measuring stick for Oak Harbor, but the circumstances rightfully took priority.
9) Kennedy Catholic 7-0, 4-0 League Spotless record for the Lancers with only 30 points allowed all season. The Seamount did not present any great obstacles, but Bourgette’s boys will not back down from any playoff challengers.
10) Mount Spokane 7-2, 5-1 League The Wildcats’ two losses were by a total of 10 points by Sandpoint (ID) and Gonzaga Prep. Beating several 4A teams throughout the season earns this Greater Spokane League squad the tenth spot.
On the Bubble
Meadowdale 6-1, 5-0 League
Bishop Blanchet 7-2, 2-2 league
Capital 7-2, 6-1 league
Peninsula Survives Shootout with Lions, Claim First Place in League Standings By Steven Dion
The 3A classification of the South Puget Sound League has been a roller coaster ride this season starting with the logjam at the top. The big surprise thus far Auburn-Mountainview would put their undefeated mark on the line as battle-tested Peninsula rolled into town. With a win, the Lions would capture the league title. The Seahawks would be able to claim the crown with a win in the final two games. When the final whistle sounded, everyone had witnessed an instant classic.
Heavy rainfall picked up right at kickoff, making for a slow start for both squads. Peninsula started the scoring on a pair of 24 yard field goals by Logan Marten. Following the second score, the AMHS got rolling as Gresch Jensen found a passing rhythm with his wideouts, capped off by a 25 yard touchdown pass to Abenego Kondiano. The Seahawks responded with a drive of their own in the waning ticks of the first half. Robert Kvinsland connected with Kyle Olson-Urbon on a well-placed ball to the corner of the endzone with twenty seconds remaining. At the half, Peninsula led 13-7.
The Seahawks appeared to address their lack of an effective rushing attack in the first 24 minutes as Major Ali would carry his team on his 5’7” 189 pound frame. But before he could make his presence felt, he watched Gavin Robertson carry the ball into the endzone from seven yards out, regaining the lead for the home team. Ali strung together several big gains to put the Hawks within scoring position, but an interception by Robertson near his own goal line turned the ball back over. Fortunately for PHS, Jack Filkins returned the favor by picking off Jensen.
In the final quarter trailing 14-19 on 4th and 6, Gresch Jensen found his steady playmaker Gavin Robertson downfield to move the chains. On another 4th down moments later, Ki’Jan Weisinger hauled in a pass which put the Lions up 20-19. The Seahawks had three minutes to march down field and at least get within field goal position. With a steady dose of Ali runs, Peninsula was on the red zone. A penalty by AMHS put the Hawks on the 7 with a running clock. Sticking to what kept Peninsula clicking, Kvinsland handed the ball off to Major who rumbled to the endzone with 7 seconds left in the contest. The Peninsula faithful in the bleachers erupted with excitement. To put the icing on top, PHS recovered the ensuing squib kickoff and ran down the final seconds. In a game reminiscent of basketball where the team with the ball last would win, Peninsula rose to the occasion and now control their own destiny to win the SPSL 3A title. Auburn-Mountainview’s dream season is in the balance as next week will decide their outcome.
Top Performers: Peninsula
Major Ali- Game winning 7 yard touchdown with 7 seconds remaining
Auburn-Mountainview Defends Spotless Record Against Hungry Lancers By Steven Dion
At this point of the season, many leagues have runaway favorites where one team isolates itself at the top of the standings; SPSL 3A is not one of those leagues. The separation between Auburn Mountainview (5-0) and Lakes (4-1) is first and fourth place with Auburn and Peninsula sandwich in between. Needless to say, this clash of title contenders posed high stakes for the postseason run.
The Lancers reigning from the city of Lakewood have been frequent visitors to the Tacoma Dome in recent years, but the time has slipped a bit to the point where the days of dominance are in the rear view mirror. Auburn-Riverside does not have the historical pedigree of their opponent, but are riding high with a blemish free-record. Would the Lions retain it?
AMHS’s loaded skill positions including Gresch Jensen, Nate Hardin, Bitner Wilson, and Devon Tandberg would account for all of their team’s scoring in this contest. After a scoreless first quarter. Tandberg connected with a 26 yard field goal to break the deadlock. Wilson would bust through for an eleven yard rushing score later in the frame to give the Lions a double digit advantage. Lakes drove, but a pass break up near the goal line blew up a key Lancer scoring opportunity.
Trailing by ten, the Lancers needed a spark to get their offense rolling. Yisrael Stephens provided some punch from the backfield, but not enough to sustain drives and keep the Lions at bay. Gresch scurring on one of his many read option plays for a 14 yard touchdown to give Auburn-Mountainview a lead they would not give up. In fact, their defense pitched a shutout thanks to Gavin Robertson, Jason Sele, Aeron Watson, and the rest of their gritty unit. Jaiave Magalei and Max Nauer were warriors in this contest despite the losing effort. Final score: Auburn-Mountainview 17 Lakes 0.
Enumclaw Narrowly Slips Past Resilient Cascade Christian By Steven Dion
The Sterling Athletics Christmas Classic started with an interesting matchup between a large public school and a small Christian school. Coach Kellen Hall’s Enumclaw squad entered this contest with a significant size advantage in addition to experience as the Hornets six seniors outnumber Cascade Christian’s one. However, the Cougars from the Puyallup Valley led by Jerry Williams were prepared to go toe-to-toe with their SPSL opponent.
Enumclaw established their dominance quickly as the opening tip resulted in an outlet pass and a score in mere seconds. Hornet forward Zac Webb outscored the entire Cougar roster in the first quarter as he notched 10 of his 20 points in the opening frame. The Cougs seemed to take a collective deep breath going into the second quarter because the tides began to change. Jordan Tveter continued to have the hot hand as three more jumpers fell for the junior. The vastly undersized CCHS squad surprisingly started to win the rebounding battle. After an identical second quarter output, the Hornets led 26-19 at the break.
Cascade Christian returned to the floor with the “bend-don’t-break” mentality which kept Enumclaw within reach. The Cougars accepted the underdog role with open arms by out-hustling the Hornets and forcing them to cough up the ball. EHS countered with aggressive play, but translated to numerous player-control fouls. Despite Enumclaw’s scoring woes, they held an eight point lead into the fourth quarter. CCHS started to shoot threes; this is when the hoop grew to the size of a swimming pool for the Cougars. After the first two dropped, people entered the Kennedy gym as if by magnetic force because Enumclaw’s lead was shrinking. Another pair of threes fell through and the Cascade Christian sideline erupted as they trailed by a single point. This is when Enumclaw seniors Drake Rademacher and Bryce Peterson said enough is enough. The Hornet duo demanded the ball and forced their way to the bucket and drew fouls. The Hornets were able to weather the storm and escape with a 52-44 win.
Top Performer: Enumclaw
Zac Webb – 20 pts (4/5 FT’s)
Auburn-Mountainview Unwraps Late Christmas Present with Win Over Lindbergh By Steven Dion
Game two of the opening round in the Christmas Classic featured Lindbergh from the Seamount League and Auburn-Mountainview of the South Puget Sound League. This matchup pitted a guard-heavy Lindbergh squad against an Auburn-Mountainview team with a prominent post presence. The team that adjusted to their dissimilar counterpart would prevail in the contest.
The contest opened with both teams trading buckets. A-M Lions’ guard Ryan Lacey buried a pair of triples in the first frame as part of his 15 total points in the game. Lindbergh’s Vincent Carter played like the NBA legend that bears the same name by scoring from the field, perimeter, and free throw stripe. The Eagle guard scored a team-high 20 in the contest. The rebounding battle was won by the Lions in the first half. However, Lindbergh took a 33-31 lead into the locker room.
Most of the third quarter was spent at the free throw line as twenty attempts were taken in the frame. Lindbergh was unable to get their star guard Marcel Hale rolling in the second half, but credit the Auburn-Mountainview defense for limiting Hale’s output. Lions senior Wyatt Walstad netted six of his game-high 21 points in the third. His effort on the defensive end of the floor paid off on the stat sheet in this contest. However, Lindbergh hung tough and only trailed by one point going into the final frame. Buckets were traded in the fourth, but AMHS’s ability to snag some late rebounds primarily through Tristan Miguel’s 6’9” frame put the Lions in position to protect their small lead. A late full-court press by the Eagles resulted in an outlet pass to Victor Daggs Jr. to put the game away. Auburn-Mountainview picked up the 71-67 win.
Seahawks Soar Over Hornets in SPSL Showdown By Steven Dion
The first boys matchup of the ShoWare Shootout featured two South Puget Sound League squads in White River and Peninsula. The Seahawks donned the letters DWWD on the backs of their jersey which according to coach Jack Jackson represents their commitment to “Do What We Do”. This motto carried Peninsula to a 4-2 record heading into their matchup Saturday which was their win total a year ago. However, the Hornets were anxious to go toe-to-toe with their opponent from a high classification to finish strong going in the holiday break.
Nerves appeared to affect both squads early as scoring was minimal and players were reluctant to shoot and create scoring opportunities. After the first frame the Hawks led 8-6. The energy picked up in the second quarter as the McLaughlin brothers JaQuori and O’Shea of Peninsula began to carry the bulk of the Hawks offensive output. The pair scored a combined 33 points on the contest including 10 of 12 from the charity stripe. Despite being undersized the Hornets were aggressive on the boards including 10 from senior guard Brandon Dove. Going into the break, both teams shot 42% from the field and PHS carried the slimmest of leads at 25-24.
This league showdown remained tight for the majority of the contest as one or two possessions separated the teams. In total, there were seven ties and sixteen lead changes throughout the game. Coincidentally, both teams notched 13 apiece in the third so the one-point Peninsula lead carried into the final period of play. The Hornets prolific offensive effort yielded an impressive 34 shots in the second half to PHS’s 18, but only 8 fell through. Meanwhile JaQuori Parker converted on some critical buckets down the stretch in addition to his flawless shooting from the charity stripe. The Hawks built their biggest lead of nine points in the fourth and didn’t look back. When the dust settled, the Hawks picked up a 55-48 victory. They are now 5-2 on the campaign.
Bonney Lake’s Second Half Surge Prevails Over Decatur By Steven Dion
Momentum is a powerful force that can build quickly in sports; the visiting Bonney Lake Panthers proved this to be true Thursday night at Federal Way Memorial Stadium against the Fighting Gators of Decatur. The home team got on the scoreboard early with a 69 yard strike from one Isaiah to another: Hatch to Diggs. The junior quarterback looked comfortable in the pocket early and was able to make big plays through scrambling. Hatch found Josiah Goulding for another first quarter score. The second quarter featured a spectacular interception by BL’s Dillon Jordan and a touchdown for the Panthers. Isaiah Weed connected with Jordan from 23 yards out. First half field possession was controlled by Decatur and they appeared to be poised for a win and 24 minutes away from doing so.
Panther head coach Jason Silbaugh must have had a scintillating halftime speech because his Bonney Lake team came out swinging in the second half. The opening kickoff in the third was returned 85 yards for a touchdown by Robert Combs. Just over a minute later, Combs found the end zone on a 59 yard bubble screen pass by Weed. The Panther defensive unit responded to the offensive surge by shutting down the Gator attack. Their front seven contained nicely by eliminating big gains by Diggs. Cameron Goenner of the Panthers even blocked two punts, one for a safety. Bonney Lake scored 31 unanswered points in the third quarter! The fourth quarter was rather uneventful, as the game had gotten away from Decatur. A bright spot for the Gators was a 60 yard run by Diggs for the score with 4 seconds remaining. Football typically requires a full four quarters to win, but for the Panthers tonight, they captured lighting in a bottle in one.
Top Performers: Bonney Lake
Robert Combs 4 TDs (85 yard KO return, 59 yard reception, 6 yard reception, 10 yard run)
A sunny September evening at Renton Memorial Stadium hosted a gridiron shootout between two non-conference teams in Decatur and Renton. This contest was a tale of two halves until a late momentum swing decided the victor. The first quarter got off to a slow start as the only scoring threat was thwarted immediately as a 60-yard pass to Decatur’s Isaiah Diggs was fumbled at the 5 yard line. Indians linebacker DaSsaun Sauls ripped the ball loose before the Gator speedster was able to bust into the end zone. But, Decatur could only keep Diggs off the scoreboard for so long as he recorded two scores in the second frame. Both extra points were blocked by Renton special teams, so the Gators took a 12-0 lead into the locker room.
Decatur picked up where they left off in the second half by feeding Diggs until he slashed his way into the end zone for the third time. The shifty runner recorded 24 carries for 145 yards and 4 rushing touchdowns in addition to 8 receptions for 213 yards with a receiving score. He picked up loads of yards after contact and the game appeared to be over when the Gators took an 18-0 lead in the third. But after failing to convert on a fake punt, Renton got on the scoreboard from an Ernie Davis touchdown. Then another. Then another. Then another. That’s right, four unanswered scores by Davis to give Renton a 28-18 lead late in the fourth quarter. Somehow, Decatur put together a touchdown drive to put them within 4 after a failed 2-point conversion. On the ensuing kickoff with 1:33 remaining, Diggs recovered the onside kick for Decatur. The first Gator play from scrimmage was a touchdown pass from near midfield to Diggs which deflated the Indians. An interception on a last-chance drive by Renton sealed the deal and finally ended this see-saw ride. Despite the loss, Ernie Davis shined in this contest scoring four touchdowns and nearly willing his team to an improbable comeback.