Kamiak senior forward Josiah Pierre shoots and sinks a pair of free throws during a matchup against Snohomish on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023, in Snohomish, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Kamiak senior forward Josiah Pierre shoots and sinks a pair of free throws during a matchup against Snohomish on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023, in Snohomish, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Kamiak’s Pierre ascends to one of area’s most prolific scorers

The senior combo forward is averaging 27.5 points per game on 60% shooting so far this season.

There’s only a handful of players in Snohomish County who have made some of the substantial statistical leaps this basketball season as Kamiak senior star Josiah Pierre.

The gifted, mild-mannered, 6-foot-5 combo forward has built up his game to a premier level during his final year as a Knight and racked up a healthy list of accolades along the way, putting up monster numbers on a nightly basis.

Boasting per-game averages of 27.5 points, seven rebounds, 2.5 assists, with nearly two steals and two blocks, Pierre has shown he’s more than capable of going pound-for-pound with the top talent in Wesco.

“He’s been a special player to have,” Kamiak coach Joe DeGrazia said. “He does everything how it’s supposed to be done, and the way he carries himself is the example of an elite player.”

What may be even more impressive is the level of efficiency Pierre has played with, shooting at a 60% clip from the field and 40% from 3-point range on 20 total shot attempts per contest.

“I feel like my teammates have trusted me a lot more this year to score,” Pierre said. “Working on extending my range and being able to punish teams when it comes to shooting the 3 ball, I think those are the big reasons why I’ve been able to play this way.”

Perhaps Pierre’s hottest streak of the year came during the holiday season back in December, when the slash-first swingman came on the scene at the Curtis Winter Classic, earning a second team all-tournament nod and posting 30 points against Post Falls (Idaho).

Later in the month, Pierre flipped another switch as Kamiak went south for the Fort Vancouver Holiday Invitational.

Earning co-MVP honors with Battle Ground guard Tait Spencer, he chalked up 35 points per game at the tournament as the Knights finished as the runners-up.

“Once he gained the confidence on the floor, he started to really feel it,” DeGrazia said. “He’s been able to compete against some of the top players in the state and go toe-to-toe with them.”

The confidence seemed to grow overnight after Pierre went through struggles as a sophomore.

After injuring his hand before Kamiak’s 2021 shortened COVID-19 season, he missed the first three games of a 10-game schedule with a Knights roster that rode with seven varsity-experienced seniors.

“It’s been such a journey for him,” DeGrazia said, who took over as Kamiak’s head coach in 2021. “Struggling to find the rotation and missing some games, he’s taken the feedback he’s gotten every step of the way. … (Now) he’s facing double and triple teams, powering through, making those plays.”

Pierre played limited minutes as a sophomore with a season-high of six points. In one of Kamiak’s first bouts in the following summer league, he hung 30 points against Renton as he started turning into one of the focal points of the offense.

As a junior, Pierre started to get more comfortable in his shoes, earning a first-team All-Wesco 4A selection and offering up 18 points and five rebounds per game.

“I thought I transitioned from that well both physically and mentally,” Pierre said of his sophomore season. “It was a tough year, starting on a team that had so many seniors. .. It was a good all-around team and when I came back (from injury), there were guys who already stepped up for the team. I knew if I just kept working everyday that I could be that guy.”

Playing at the collegiate level is a big goal that’s been on Pierre’s list. With a junior college route seemingly becoming a real option, he’s excited to embrace whatever opportunity comes his way in the future.

“I’m still trying to figure things out, and there’s things I need to just keep getting better at so I can play at the highest level possible,” Pierre said. “If that’s the route I end up going on, it’ll be about progressing each and every day.”

As his senior campaign comes to a close, Pierre expressed gratitude in being able to mentor some of the younger players from the program, which include his two brothers — junior Elijah and freshman Aaron.

“It’s been so nice to be on the court and see both of them start developing into some great players,” he said. “Being able to pass my torch to them and everyone else is a really great feeling.”

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