The Class 1A school is close to winning its first league basketball title and making its first trip to state.
Fear the House.
Once a Diamond Parking lot, The Northwest School purchased space in the Pike/Pine corridor and built a lean athletic facility to expand its Capitol Hill campus. It was dubbed the “House” by students at the private liberal arts school, which originated in 1980, but didn’t have an official mascot.
“Around 2005, the students organically started chanting ‘house’ because a house logo has always been on our letterhead,” athletic director Britt Atack said. “It was on the down-low, so to speak, but everyone has gotten behind it (as the school mascot).”
Before unveiling its home facility in 2014, Northwest School played its athletic games at local community centers, churches and Seattle University’s Connolly Center. House having a home gym has helped unify a sports program that’s won state championships in boys Ultimate and girls cross country.
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And boys basketball opponents are getting chewed up once they enter the new gym.
This week, Northwest School (14-2) has a chance to win its first Emerald City League basketball championship, which would also automatically qualify House to its first Class 1A state appearance.
The winning record, which includes a 13-game win streak, is the program’s first since former Oregon basketball star Mike Drummond coached the team in 2005.
“We talked at the beginning of the year about wanting the season to be bigger than us,” said coach Sam Fein, whose team is ranked No. 6 in its classification by The Associated Press. “And a lot of the things we’re doing are for the first-time in school history. They’re taking pride in the process and I’m proud of them.”
The emergence of the team is partly attributed to an enhanced offseason. When Fein took the position in 2015, his staff focused on player development during the summer. House practiced five to six times a week and limited games.
Now, three players average double figures in scoring, led by senior Nick Marsh (15 points per game). The 6-foot-3 guard missed last season due to a torn ACL.
Sophomore Isaiah Jeannot handles the rebounding while senior Ethan Kurofsky and junior Jamie Cockburn shoot 45 percent from three-point range.
Still, the intimidating X-factor is the house. The modern, canary-yellow building has a 6,000-foot outdoor rooftop sports field. Inside, among the offices, cafeteria and weight room, is the basketball gym that squeezes a 150-seat bleacher on one side. An overlooking mezzanine level and baseline provide standing-room only viewing for another 100 fans.
“The gym is packed and when you have your own space like that, it’s gotten everyone really excited,” Fein said.
Atack, the school’s first basketball coach, agreed. House will hold its “Fan Night” on Tuesday against University Prep. Friday’s home game against Overlake could decide the league title.
“It’s a beautiful space and has totally changed our world here,” Atack said. “It’s amazing to have a home.”
Ingraham will honor longtime coach Walt Milroy by renaming its court after him. The dedication is Friday when Ingraham hosts Ballard. The game is set for 8 p.m. and the ceremony should begin at 7:30 p.m.
Milroy, who was a three-sport athlete at Roosevelt, coached the Ingraham boys basketball team for 21 seasons. The Rams were undefeated in their run to the state championship in 1969.
New hall of fame
Seattle Public School’s athletic department erected its own Hall of Fame and announced some of the inaugural inductees Friday. The Class of 2017 will have 23 total members, the district unveiling the names in small groupings leading up to the February banquet.
The first names announced are former Franklin basketball greats Jason Terry and Rhonda (Smith) Banchero, Olympic swimmer Rick Colella (Nathan Hale) and NFL running back Greg Lewis (Ingraham). William Jennings Coyle, the former quarterback and politician who graduated from Broadway High in 1908, will be honored posthumously.
The celebration to honor the inductees is scheduled for Feb. 16 at the Washington Athletic Club. Tickets are $100 for individuals or $1,000 to purchase a table for 10 attendees.
Pouring in points
Tahoma shooting guard Kaelan Shamseldin is the latest to near the 1,000 career-points benchmark. She finished with nine Friday in the Bears’ regular-season finale win against Hazen and is 18 points shy of the mark.
The Bears (16-4, 10-4 North Puget Sound League) begin district play Feb. 8.