With the game on the line

Boys basketball shows tremendous poise in late games during its 9-3 start to the season


Kensie Speed

Players circle around Coach Greg Lowell, now in his 26th season in a timeout during the team’s dramatic 64-63 victory against Bothell. Currently ranked second in KingCo, the Vikings need to finish as one of the top three teams in order to qualify for state.

Aaron Huang, Sports Editor

With ten seconds remaining, Bothell guard Hunter Dean goes behind the back and scoops in a left-handed lay-up to give the visitors a 63-62 advantage.  As the Bothell team and fans rejoice, the ball is quickly inbounded in to senior guard Andy Nelson, who sprints down the court.

Defenders converge on Nelson, whose drive to the basket is forced towards the baseline.  At the last moment he jumps into the air and fires a pinpoint pass to cutting senior Sage Drollinger who floats in the game winner.  When Bothell’s last-second shot rims out, the Inglemoor student section swarms the court in celebration.

Their exhilarating victory was just one of six games that were won by five points or less.  While they would prefer a greater scoring margin, their success in close games has demonstrated resilience and fortitude early as they have jumped out to an 9-3 overall record (6-2 in KingCo) and are currently third in the conference.

“Our mindset is just to take one game at a time,” senior center William Luckett said.  “We believe that we can compete with every other team in KingCo and even when we are down, we are never out of it.”

With their former top scorer, Trey Miller (19.5 ppg), having graduated, the team has taken a more balanced approach to its offense.  Luckett has become a more consistent low post presence who commands constant attention from opposing defenses.  Nelson, Drollinger, senior Chandler Edlin, and junior AJ Peacocke are four guards who each are able to attack the basket off the dribble and pose a threat from the three-point line.

“We helped make up for the scoring with teamwork; we don’t just look for one person to score,” Peacocke said.

Their new starting lineup has been very dependable throughout the first half of the season.  Through better ball movement and trust in each other, the team has increased their number of three-point attempts per game from 12 last season to 17 this year.  Their three-point percentage has also improved from 26 to 33 percent.  And although they are undersized, their rebounding has improved slightly (29.7 to 30.1).

“Having multiple ball handlers in the starting lineup helps our ball movement and spacing,” Coach Greg Lowell said.  “It gives us the ability to bring in two bigger, physical players, seniors Luke Shekeryk and Jackson Gardner, off our bench who can provide a lot of aggressiveness and energy most other teams cannot match.”

But regardless of which players are on the court, it is clear mental toughness has been the key to their early season success.  It is what earned them a win against Bothell, a rival the team has not beaten since 2011.  And it will also be the key for the team to qualify for state, a feat that hasn’t been accomplished in five years