Quick trivia question: Which local girls basketball team currently has a top-four state ranking?
It’s the unbeaten Archbishop Murphy Wildcats (8-0), who are No. 4 in this week’s Associated Press Class 2A poll. One of Archbishop Murphy’s top players is senior forward Alyssa Smith. Smith (first name pronounced Ah-Lisa) said last week in an interview that this Wildcats squad is “the best school team I’ve ever been on. We all get along really, really well.”
Murphy coach John Barhanovich is “big on defense,” Smith said. That explains why the team has allowed an average of just 37.4 points per game. Making matters worse for opponents, Murphy’s offense has been potent lately, generating 150 points over its last two games.
Last night, for the first time this season, I watched Meadowdale boys basketball guard Roger O’Neill play. Wow. Glacier Peak coach Brian Hunter had major praise for O’Neill a few weeks ago, but I wanted to see O’Neill for myself.
I walked away last night thinking O’Neill might be the most versatile guard in the area. The 6-foot-4 senior scored from seemingly every angle in a loss against Mountlake Terrace.
When the game started to slip away from Meadowdale in the second half, O’Neill took over. He scored 17 of his game-high 23 points in the second half, including 13 in the final 6 minutes, 56 seconds. He had a smooth, controlled approach on offense, scoring on perimeter shots, mid-range pull-up jumpers and even back-to-the-basket post moves.
I don’t recall seeing another player improve this much between his junior and senior seasons.
Unfortunate news for the Lynnwood boys basketball team: 6-9 center Simi Fajemisin suffered an ankle sprain Tuesday and sat out the Royals game last night, a win over Edmonds-Woodway.
Here’s what Lynnwood coach Darrell McNeal said yesterday in a voice message about Fajemisin:
“He will sit a couple of games just because they’re close to each other. (Lynnwood plays at Mountlake Terrace Saturday.) We’re not going to (rush) him back. He’s walking on it. He feels pretty good, but it’s still kind of tender and sore.”
Fajemisin, who averages 10.3 points per game and contributes valuable rebounding and shot-blocking, will probably return for Lynnwood by Tuesday, when the Royals play host to Mariner, said McNeal.