Vikings (23-3) earned a spot in today's fifth/eighth-place game against Prairie (24-7) at 11:30 a.m.
Even Greg Lowell would not have predicted this outcome.
That his Inglemoor boys basketball team today will win the program’s first-ever state trophy pleases the coach to no end, but to say that he expected it?
Well, that would be a stretch.
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“I knew we’d be competitive, and I thought we’d be good,” Lowell said after his Vikings (23-3) earned a spot in today’s fifth/eighth-place game against Prairie (24-7) at 11:30 a.m. “But not to this level.”
The Vikings have surprised more than just their coach this season. They started the year with 10 straight wins, beat perennial power Franklin for the first time since 1996, won the program’s first KingCo Conference championship and qualified for state for the first time since 1992.
Today, they will bring a trophy home to Kenmore, capping the best boys basketball season in school history.
“It has been an unreal year,” said forward Steve Campbell, one of four senior starters.
Still, the Vikings have mostly sailed under the radar, cracking the Top 10 statewide rankings only once. They didn’t blow teams out; they didn’t have a star with Division I potential. But today, they’re one of only eight teams in the state still playing.
“No matter what happens, they made it here, and they’re going to place, and they won the league championship,” Lowell said. “That’s something that 10 years from now, when we have a reunion, people will remember.”
Williams career ends
Roosevelt’s season-ending loss to Prairie yesterday also brought down the curtain on Marcus Williams’ stellar high-school career. The 6-foot-7, Arizona-bound forward scored 29 points in his final game, bringing his total to 1,977 in 89 career games.
The Roughriders improved every year with Williams, going from 6-14 his freshman season to 21-7 this year.
“We really accomplished something,” said Williams of the program’s first state trip in 18 years. “We really came together and did something that will be with us the rest of our lives. This has been a family, this team. It has been really special.”
• The state tournament has been a respite for the players and students alike of North Kitsap in Poulsbo after some recent tragedies that have struck the school. In late February, student Miles Pendergraft, a member of the wrestling team, died in a car accident. Last week, two students, Josh Morton and Kyle Sizemore, were injured in another car accident. Sizemore is a member of the Vikings’ baseball team. Watching and cheering for the Vikings in their first state appearance since 1988 has united students.
“This has taken their mind off of all the negative things that have happened, ” said North Kitsap athletic director Al Gleich. “North Kitsap is a close-knit community. These tragedies have affected everyone.”
• Former NBA player John Stockton was watching his alma mater, Gonzaga Prep, and one of his former rivals, Ferris, this week in Tacoma. He watched his son, junior guard Houston Stockton, playing for Gonzaga Prep, as well as his nephews, Steve Stockton and Shawn Stockton, play for Ferris. Gonzaga Prep was eliminated yesterday by Inglemoor in a 61-48 loss. Ferris lost two games.
• Toughest shot in the Tacoma Dome? It’s a jump shot from the wing because the ring of lights illuminating the dome is right in the shooter’s eyes. “You’re looking right at those lights,” said Inglemoor senior Steve Campbell.
Campbell, a senior with a 3.9 grade point, has college potential in football as a quarterback but has decided to play basketball. At this point, he is interested in Seattle Pacific and Whitworth.
• The final attendance figure for last week’s 3A boys and girls tournaments was 25,703, up from 2004’s figure of 22,267.
Staff reporter Craig Smith and correspondent George Edgar contributed to this notebook.