Somebody recently told Edmonds-Woodway boys basketball coach Gail Pintler that his team was just a bunch of blue-collar workers. Bingo. "That's exactly what they are,"...

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Somebody recently told Edmonds-Woodway boys basketball coach Gail Pintler that his team was just a bunch of blue-collar workers.

Bingo.

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"That's exactly what they are," said Pintler, who is in his first year as head coach of the Warriors. "They will go out and fight for 32 minutes and do what they need to do to be successful. That's how they're successful — their tremendous discipline and tremendous effort."

It's no surprise the Warriors (14-3 overall, 11-2 WesCo South) are winning. They were 12-6 in WesCo South last year, after all, and return many players from that team.

What is surprising is how Edmonds-Woodway is winning. The Warriors have broken 60 points only once all season — in their first game — and don't have a player averaging more than 10 points.

Nonetheless, E-W leads the WesCo South Division, has clinched a Northwest 4A District berth, and aims to return to the state tournament for the first time since 1998. The Warriors are doing it because of defense, toughness and a winning mentality — all ingredients of a blue-collar team.

"I think their defense is very tough, and you do have to give credit for this to both their players and coaches," said Jackson coach Steve Johnson, whose second-place Timberwolves lost to E-W on a last-second shot when the teams met Jan. 20. "They are the most physical team in the league, and the deepest, too."

Numbers back that up. Through January, the Warriors averaged 50.2 points and allowed 44.6, and their leading scorer was averaging only 9.5. Edmonds-Woodway has won twice without breaking 40 points and gave up a season-low of 22 in a Jan. 13 game with Meadowdale of Lynnwood.

"We have a lot of capable scorers who on another team could be averaging 15 points," said senior post Casey Hamlett, who's averaging just over nine points. "On defense, it's just a mindset and attitude that, 'You're not going to score on us.' It's just a toughness that we bring that we're going to play good defense from the opening whistle, so we're going to be in your face the entire game. By the third and fourth quarter, teams just get kind of worn down."

Perhaps the team's toughness can be attributed to the many football players on the hardwood. Both Eric Greenwood, the team's leading scorer, and Hamlett were integral parts of the Warriors' football team that advanced to the Class 4A state semifinals.

"We understand what it takes to get to a high level of play," said the 6-foot-4, 250-pound Hamlett. "I think bringing in that toughness directly coming off of football really helps the team and helps with the style of ball we play already. It's really a big plus to have a lot of football players on the team and the attitude and mindset we have."

Added Greenwood, a 6-6 wing who will play football for Idaho next season: "We have the mindset of every night you're going to win. We expect to win."

The Warriors play stifling man-to-man and matchup-zone defenses that get in the face of opponents.

"They keep every game close even on nights when they don't shoot the ball well," said Kamiak coach Greg Turcott, whose Knights ended E-W's 12-game win streak on Jan. 30.

Said Pintler, "If you play hard, that's the key. It takes hard work to be successful. They don't like to not win. So they work hard to not lose."

Definitely blue collar.

Notes

Fifty-eight players tried out for the Everett Hawks, an Arena Football 2 team, on Jan. 27. Plans are being made for another tryout Feb. 24 in Everett or Portland. The Hawks' season begins March 31.

Archbishop Murphy High School, near Mill Creek, is seeking a head fast-pitch coach, a junior-varsity boys soccer coach, a track assistant and a head girls soccer coach. Fast-pitch, boys soccer and track are spring sports, so those positions will be filled immediately.

Harlem Globetrotters player Herb Evans Jr. will appear at 3:30 p.m. Friday at Imagine Children's Museum, 1502 Wall St. in Everett, and at Mountlake Terrace Sno-Isle Library at 4 p.m. on Monday. The Globetrotters will play at the Everett Events Center at 7 p.m. on Feb. 23 and at 3 p.m. Feb. 25. For tickets, contact the Everett Events Center box office, EverettEventsCenter.com or 866-332-8499.