January 11, 2016
By Neil Pierson
NEW — 9:15 a.m., Jan. 11, 2016
The boys basketball programs at Issaquah and Skyline high schools are in two different stages of development, something that was evident in the fourth quarter of the teams’ Jan. 8 meeting in Sammamish.
Skyline stayed within reach for the first three quarters but withered in the end, falling victim to Issaquah’s relentless pressure as the Eagles moved to 8-0 in Class 4A KingCo Conference play with a 64-45 win.
“I don’t know if we’re physically tired, but we just mentally gave into them,” Skyline coach Ben Williams said. “It wore us down and that’s what it’s meant to do.”
“I felt like our press bothered them a little bit,” Issaquah coach Jason Griffith added. “Even when they broke it, they only had 19, 20 seconds left in the shot clock, and that’s hard to get in a rhythm offensively when you do that.
“But they’ve got some good players and they played hard, and you’ve got to give them credit. They played 32 minutes.”
The Spartans (2-6 KingCo) got off to a hot start in a front of a noisy gym filled with fans of both schools. Senior forward Braden Ahlemeyer was especially good in the first quarter and finished the night with 14 points, 11 rebounds and seven blocked shots.
“We normally don’t get fans,” Williams said. “I told them that you have them today and you’ve got to keep them. You’ve got to at least be competitive.”
Issaquah took the lead late in the first quarter and never relinquished it, although the margin stayed in single digits for much of the second and third periods. Skyline got within 42-35 on two DJ Moore free throws, but the Eagles restored the lead to 11 after three quarters as Jason Crandall hit a floater from the left baseline and Garrett White turned a steal into a breakaway layup.
Issaquah junior guard Trevon Ary-Turner had seven of his game-high 18 points in the fourth quarter as the Eagles closed out with a 16-8 run.
Griffith said the Eagles didn’t play their best game. They shot 39 percent from the floor, and leading scorers Ary-Turner and Scott Kellum were a combined 6 of 25. But it was more than enough in the end.
Issaquah’s past success seems to fuel the players in critical situations, Griffith noted, and that was a decided advantage against a Skyline squad short on experience in high-intensity games.
“We tell the kids all the time, we’ve been there, we’ve done it at all levels, so we’ve got to act like a mature team, a team that understands what it takes to win those types of games,” he said.
“We have to play about as perfect as we can possibly play and we’re just not there yet,” Williams said of the Spartans. “Issaquah is really good and they can make you pay for all your mistakes.”