BELLEVUE — There was no turning point, no late basket and no standout performance needed on Friday night for Issaquah.
There was fundamental defense, consistent shooting and a team effort, and that was more than enough to carry the Eagles to a 77-45 road win over Newport in the regular-season finale for both teams.
Despite already being locked into the No. 2 seed from the Crown Division in next week’s KingCo tournament, coach Jason Griffith was wary of a letdown against a talented Newport team that will miss postseason play. The Eagles (15-5) gave Griffith a performance that was quite the opposite.
“We just challenge them every possession, every quarter, every half, every game,” Griffith said. “Ultimately, our goal is to get better each game, and we’ve been preaching that all season. We feel like we’re playing pretty good basketball right now and hopefully we can peak in a couple weeks.”
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After falling behind 7-4 during a slow start from both teams, Issaquah ran off with a 28-2 run that began midway through the first quarter and ended with 1:58 left in the second. A bucket by Griffin Collins ended the Eagles’ tear and was just the second of three field goals the Knights (9-11) would convert in the second quarter.
There was no letdown after intermission for Issaquah, which built a 36-15 halftime lead to a 37-point spread before eventually emptying the bench late in the third quarter.
“We just decided to turn it up on defense,” senior Cory Nevin said, who scored 14 points. “We were just playing our hearts out like we knew we were capable of, like we do in practice all the time.”
Ty Gibson led Issaquah with 17 points, while Addison McIrvin contributed 13 in a balanced offensive effort.
Will Ferris had 17 points for Newport, but the Knights never got going against an Issaquah team that is eager to build off a disappointing finish to last season that saw them fall one basket from advancing to the round of 16 in the playoffs.