Edmonds College’s Naser Motley (4) and Josiah Pierre (23) play for the Tritons in this composite image during a game against Christian Faith on Jan. 4 at Seaview Gym in Lynnwood. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Edmonds College’s Naser Motley (4) and Josiah Pierre (23) play for the Tritons in this composite image during a game against Christian Faith on Jan. 4 at Seaview Gym in Lynnwood. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Ex-Mukilteo School District rivals share the court at Edmonds College

Mariner graduate Naser Motely and Kamiak graduate Josiah Pierre are leading the Tritons into NWAC North Region play.

LYNNWOOD — Two years ago Josiah Pierre and Naser Motley stood on opposite sides of the Mukilteo School District’s high school divide.

Motley was a senior running point for the Mariner boys basketball team, leading the Marauders to the Class 4A state tournament as he earned first-team All-Area recognition. Pierre was in the midst of a breakout junior campaign as a scoring wing at Kamiak, earning first-team All-Wesco 4A honors. It was a clash of rivals, navy blue versus purple for district bragging rights.

But today Pierre and Motley are wearing the same colors, and they’re hoping that together they can lead a different team to glory.

When the Edmonds College men’s basketball team opens Northwest Athletic Conference North Region play Wednesday night at Everett, it’ll be the Mukilteo School District duo leading the way as the Tritons seek another trip to the postseason.

“Instead of playing against him all the time, playing with him is a blessing,” Motley said about teaming with Pierre.

“Those two have really come into their own,” Edmonds coach Kyle Gray said. “Nas redshirted last year and reaped the benefits of that, so he was ready to start the season strong. And Jo has been amazing. I thought maybe he’d have a little bit of a learning curve, but he hit the ground running right away.”

The traditionally strong Edmonds men’s program is coming off a season in which the Tritons went 20-8 and reached the quarterfinals of the NWAC tournament. But Edmonds has an almost entirely new team this year, as seven of the top eight scorers from last year have moved on.

Enter Pierre and Motley.

Pierre, a 6-foot-5 freshman wing, has made an instant impact at the CC level. Through 15 games he’s leading the Tritons in scoring at 18.7 points, while also chipping in 6.8 rebounds. His scoring is coming at an efficient clip as he’s shooting 60.1% from the floor.

Edmonds College’s Josiah Pierre tries to position for an offensive rebound during a matchup with Christian Faith on Jan. 4 at Seaview Gym in Lynnwood. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Edmonds College’s Josiah Pierre tries to position for an offensive rebound during a matchup with Christian Faith on Jan. 4 at Seaview Gym in Lynnwood. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

“He plays good defense,” Motley said about Pierre’s strengths as a player. “He gets a lot of blocked shots, and when he blocks those shots he’s super disciplined. And he can score on all three levels, especially in the mid-range, that’s the sweet spot where he likes to operate.”

Meanwhile, Motley has taken the reins of the Edmonds offense. After redshirting last season because of Edmonds’ wealth of sophomore guards, Motley has stepped into the point-guard role and is putting up 8.4 points, 3.1 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game.

“He’s our starting point guard, so he’s good at facilitating, and he’s a really good verbal leader, he always makes sure to speak his mind and speak honestly,” Pierre said about Motley. “He’s strong and has a lot of size on other point guards, so he always plays physical. And he gets to his mid-range spot well.”

Edmonds College’s Naser Motley shoots a 3-pointer during a matchup with Christian Faith on Jan. 4 at Seaview Gym in Lynnwood. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Edmonds College’s Naser Motley shoots a 3-pointer during a matchup with Christian Faith on Jan. 4 at Seaview Gym in Lynnwood. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Together they helped Edmonds open the season with seven straight victories. The Tritons hit a bit of a bump in December, but they are still 10-5 heading into region play, and they’ll be one of the leading contenders to earn one of four postseason berths from a stacked North Region.

Despite being from the same school district boundary, Pierre and Motley didn’t know one another until they became teammates. They did know of one another, however, particularly during the 2021-22 high school season when Motley was a senior and Pierre a junior. Their teams faced one another twice during the regular season, with Mariner prevailing both times, 74-72 on the first occasion and 65-51 on the second.

“(Pierre) was a matchup problem,” Motley recalled. “He could get any bucket he wanted, get to any spot he wanted to. He did everything.”

“I remember (Motley) was pretty up there in scoring in both games,” Pierre said. “I remember him hitting a lot of tough shots and playing really hard.”

The pair finally got a chance to play together during some open gyms at Edmonds last spring, and Motley was able to give Pierre some insight about playing at Edmonds that helped Pierre decide to sign with the Tritons.

Edmonds College’s Josiah Pierre (23) and Naser Motley (4) stand next to each other in the huddle during a matchup with Christian Faith on Jan. 4 at Seaview Gym in Lynnwood. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Edmonds College’s Josiah Pierre (23) and Naser Motley (4) stand next to each other in the huddle during a matchup with Christian Faith on Jan. 4 at Seaview Gym in Lynnwood. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Next up for Pierre, Motley and the Tritons is a run at the NWAC North Region. The North has turned into a beast in recent years. Last year the North had seven tournament-caliber teams and supplied both finalists: champion Bellevue and runner-up Everett. This season Skagit Valley is currently undefeated and the top-ranked team in the NWAC coaches poll, while four North teams were ranked in the latest top-10.

But Edmonds, with Pierre and Motley leading the way — as well as last season’s second-leading scorer Chris Lee making his season debut last week — expects to be right in the mix.

“I think we can go very deep,” Motley said. “I believe we can get the (North Region’s) first seed. People just have to lock into their roles. If we do that, and if we come to practice and work hard every single day, I feel like we have a great chance to get the first seed.”

T-Trophy showdown

What: The first of two basketball doubleheaders this season between the archrival Edmonds College Tritons and the Everett Community College Trojans. It’s also the Northwest Athletic Conference North Region opener for all four teams.

When: 5 p.m. (women) and 7 p.m. (men) Wednesday.

Where: The Walt Price Student Fitness Center on the campus of Everett Community College.

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