Near the bottom of their division coming into this past week, the Woodinville High School Boys Basketball team had a lot to think about and a lot of improvements to be made if they wanted to make the playoffs.
With a 2-12 record going in, the Falcons made huge strides as they prevailed with two road wins against a short-handed Newport squad 58-52 on Tuesday night and a close 63-61 win against Redmond High School on Friday night.
The team is now 4-12 and a playoff berth is clinched for the Falcons.
In the game against Newport on Tuesday night, the Falcons got major contributions from senior starter Quinten Parker who provided a team-high 17 points alongside junior Tommy Wick who scored 15 points.
In the game against Redmond last night, the intensity could be felt the moment you walked into the gym. It got even more intense late in the first quarter when a missed goaltending call that benefited Redmond, resulted in a technical foul for Woodinville Head Coach Mark Folsom.
However, this call didn’t knock down the Falcons confidence, in fact, it did the exact opposite. The Falcons picked up the pace and their desire and determination to win was quickly seen.
Leading at halftime, 30-28, the Falcons continued with their intensity and will, hitting shots left and right, and by the third quarter, the lead was up to five points. Woodinville was up 44-39.
The fourth quarter had its up’s and down’s, with Woodinville seemingly struggling on defense as Redmond quickly got back into the game after the Falcons stretched the lead to 10 midway through the quarter.
As the game got down to about a minute or two left, the Falcons had a slight lead, but Redmond wouldn’t go down without a fight. Wide-open three’s were knocked down effortlessly by Redmond, as the game quickly became a game of fouls and made or missed free throws by Woodinville.
Staying cool and collected at the line, players like Tommy Wick and Jake Miller, showed their maturity and poise as they knocked down their free throws for Woodinville, in the end, giving the Falcons a much-needed win.
Again, Quinten Parker was a huge contributor, playing big in the paint and using his soft touch to convert the baskets down low.
Other seniors, Jake Miller and John Villasenor, also let their presence be known on the court. Miller took advantage of the Redmond defense and knocked down some wide-open three’s while Villasenor drove in inside, taking the foul and making the hustle plays on both sides of the ball.
The seniors are stepping up for this Falcon team, just as Woodinville Head Coach Mark Folsom challenged them to do during practices for the past two weeks.
Folsom commented on how the team has "lacked senior leadership from Day One" and that’s why for the past two weeks he’s been pushing for the seniors to realize that this team is theirs, not his. The seniors, someway, somehow, have to take ownership for the team and lead the young guys.
There are seven seniors on the team, three major contributors, with a couple of others occasionally getting off the bench. The rest of the team is young, with one freshman and a mix of juniors and sophomores.
Folsom talked about how for the younger kids, “it’s a grind, they are playing at such a difficult level and the game is fast…it’s harder on their bodies.”
In addition to the questions regarding the leadership on the team, Folsom discussed the main focus of the team, which is to find their identity.
To do this, Folsom said the team had to go back to the basics, get down the fundamentals, before they could even think of strategizing against their opponents.
As Folsom stated, “we put the attention on us as a team, not the opponent.”
Folsom did acknowledge that the season has had its up’s and down’s and when asked to describe the season in one word, Folsom replied with ‘challenging.
This team has gone through more than its fair share of challenges, from having a tough schedule being in KingCo, to a coaching change and a different style of coaching coming into play, it was a lot for this team to handle and to get a hold of.
As Folsom put it, the team didn’t have the clear “chemistry and cohesiveness” when the season started.
The players had to come into tryouts ready to prove themselves to the coaching staff and show what they could contribute, whether that be for the present season at hand, or the upcoming seasons, as this program is still in the works.
However, for now, the Falcons are on a two-game winning streak, gaining confidence and hopefully with each passing game, their true identity will be found.
On the road again, the next game is Tuesday, Jan. 22 at 7:30p.m. against Issaquah High School. Be sure to come out and show support!