By Aaron Swaney Herald Writer
TACOMA — An early run by O’Dea buried the Stanwood boys basketball team in a hole it never could quite dig out of and the Spartans lost 64-50 Saturday at Tacoma Dome to take sixth place in the 3A state tournament.
But it wasn’t that loss that got to Spartans head coach Zach Ward after the game, and season, were over.
It was the fact that it was the last game for six seniors that got Ward choked up.
“I didn’t care that we lost,” Ward said after the game. “I care that I’m losing six kids that I love and that aren’t going to play for me anymore. There were tears in (the locker room), but I told them those are tears of joy.”
The loss caps one of the most successful seasons the Spartans have had in recent memory. Led by a trio of guards in Josh Thayer, Ian Zipp and Brady Garcea, and post Drew Stang, Stanwood went undefeated in the regular season and made it to Tacoma for the first time since 2010. The sixth-place finish matches the Ryan Appleby-led Stanwood teams that brought home a pair of sixth-place finishes in 2001 and 2002.
“It’s another thing those kids can put in their case: A 20-0 regular season, a sixth-place finish at state,” Ward said of the trophy. “Those things are going to be in the trophy case forever. If we’re here talking about what happened in 1950, I want them talking about what happened in 2014. I think that these boys did work that will pay off down the road and a lot of people will remember that 2014 team.”
Stanwood, which finished the season 24-3, had trouble shooting the ball early Saturday and fell behind when O’Dea didn’t. With the game tied at 5, Quin Barnard hit a pair of 3-pointers to fuel an Irish 12-0 run the end the quarter and bury the Spartans.
In the second quarter, Stanwood fought back and outscored the Irish 17-12 to pull within seven points at halftime. Spartans junior Karsten Chaplik hit a 3-pointer and scored seven points in the quarter and Thayer hit a step-back 3-pointer at the buzzer to lead the push.
But O’Dea’s Quin Barnard hit a 3-pointer out of the halftime to push the score back to 10 points and the Spartans could never quite get the deficit back to single-digits the rest of the way.
“We just didn’t shoot the ball well today,” Ward said.
Stanwood had trouble with O’Dea’s height and was out-rebounded 51-35 and outscored 15-3 on second-chance points. Ward was quick to dismiss the early start — the game tipped at 8 a.m. — or a lack of effort for the reason.
“We got hurt on the boards, but that wasn’t an effort thing,” Ward said, “I think it was a size thing.
I love my job. Fortunate to lead an amazing group of kids- I love this group &will never forget ‘em. #specialseason pic.twitter.com/jouEVIKHxHWard said that effort was something he’s never had to question about his six seniors.
— Zach Ward (@DialedIn24_7) March 8, 2014
“That’s their calling card,” Ward said. “I’ve never had to ask them at practice to pick it up.”
Besides Chaplik and Skout Roberson, both juniors who saw regular playing time, a number of younger Spartans players got playing time throughout the state tournament that will help them in years to come. Chaplik finished with a team-high 15 points and freshman AJ Martinka scored three points in Saturday’s game.
Ward said that the state experience is valuable but that playing and practicing alongside this year’s seniors taught them even more.
“I can draw it out how I want them to act and play, but what those seniors brought was experience and on-the-job training for those younger guys,” Ward said.
At Tacoma Dome
O’Dea 17 12 17 18 — 64
Stanwood 5 17 11 17 — 50
O’Dea—Jamie Orme 20, Tyler Kidd 6, Quin Barnard 14, Keiron Goodwin 5, Micah Johnson 0, David Woodard 0, Liam Durham 0, Jerome Kidd 0, Jacob Lampkin 14, Cole Burcham 0, Jamar Kemp 5. Stanwood—AJ Martinka 3, Ian Zipp 2, Anthony Engelhart 0, Josh Thayer 12, Drew Wright 2, Carlton McDonald 1, Brady Garcea 6, Derek Ross 2, Karsten Chaplik 15, Drew Stang 7, Skout Roberson 0. 3-point goals—Barnard 4, Goodwin, Thayer 2, Garcea, Chaplik 2. Records—O’Dea 19-11 overall. Stanwood 24-3.