The Issaquah-Roosevelt boys matchup is among the highlights of tournament play this week.
Before the season started, Issaquah coach Jeff Patrick was certain of two things. First, he knew he had one of the state’s best guards. Second, he believed he could count on his players to always compete.
But other than being a year older, this year’s Issaquah boys basketball team consisted mostly of the same players from last season’s squad — the one that finished 8-16 overall.
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So if you were to have told Patrick that after one month his Eagles would be 7-0 and ranked No. 6 among the state’s Class 3A programs, he would have had a hard time believing.
After all, even his state runner-up team in 2002-03 didn’t start this hot.
“They’ve been working hard and they deserve the record they’ve got,” said Patrick, noting the Eagles’ added maturity. “But we’re not overwhelmingly talented. We’ve got to do the little things — play like a team and play hard to be successful.”
That’s exactly what the Eagles have done. And after four straight KingCo 3A Conference victories, they’ll jump back into nonleague competition this week with three games in three days in the Oh Boy! Oberto Christmas Classic, one of several holiday tournaments in which area teams will participate this week.
The first of the Eagles’ contests comes tomorrow at Bothell High School, where Issaquah will face KingCo 4A team Roosevelt (2-1) at 5:30 p.m. in one of the tournament’s four first-round games.
Other boys games include: Renton (4-1) vs. South Kitsap (4-0), last year’s 4A state runner-up, at 4 p.m.; Kennedy (4-1) vs. Interlake (5-2) at 7 p.m.; and Bothell (2-1) vs. Clover Park (3-4) at 8:30 p.m.
The girls portion of the tournament starts Wednesday at Redmond High, with Snohomish (5-1) facing Issaquah (5-3) at 6:30 p.m., and Redmond (3-2) taking on Gig Harbor (4-1) at 8 p.m.
Title games will be Thursday at Edmundson Pavilion, with the girls playing at 6:30 p.m. and the boys at 8 p.m.
The Christmas Classic’s most intriguing boys game places two of the highest-profile local players on the same court — Issaquah guard Garrison Carr and Roosevelt wing Marcus Williams.
Carr, who has signed with American University in Washington, D.C., averages 25 points and has scored 30 or more in three of his first seven games.
Williams, who has signed with Arizona, has scored 30 or more in both games he has played this season. He missed Roosevelt’s second game with shin splints, but rested last week in practice and should be ready to go tomorrow, according to first-year Roughriders coach Bart Brandenburg.
“We’ve just got to get him some rest,” Brandenburg said. “We’ve been icing them. I’m planning on him playing.”
One of the more interesting girls holiday tournaments, the Washington vs. Oregon Challenge, starts today at Franklin and Garfield high schools. Both Seattle schools are set to participate, with Franklin (1-2) opening against Benson Tech of Portland at 7:30 p.m. at Franklin, and top-ranked Garfield (2-0) hosting Lakes of Tacoma tomorrow at noon.
Across Lake Washington, the second-ranked Rainier Beach girls (6-1) take on Glen Eagle of British Columbia at 3 p.m. tomorrow at Eastlake High in Sammamish in the first round of the eight-team Cascade Classic.
Also, fifth-ranked O’Dea (6-2), the defending 3A state boys champion, plays Emerald Ridge (3-2) of the South Puget Sound League at 5 p.m. tomorrow at Mountlake Terrace High in the Edmonds School District Holiday Tournament. The host Hawks (4-2), ranked No. 9 among 4A boys, face Cleveland (6-2) at 7 p.m.
Other holiday tournaments this week will take place at Bellevue Community College, Seattle Christian and Snohomish County Christian.
Matt Peterson: 206-515-5536 or firstname.lastname@example.org