By KEVIN BREIWICK
For 28 years, Keith Kingsbury has been at the center of Edmonds Community College basketball.
Kingsbury has been the head coach of the men’s team since 1972. He guided the team to a 27-1 record and a 1985 Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges championship, and a second-place finish in 1993.
After all this time, Kingsbury isn’t ready to give it up.
“I’m having fun working with the kids,” he said. “It’s nice to know that if I’ve had enough I can walk away.”
Good experiences with players the past five years have given Kingsbury a reason to stay.
“Everyone says you’ll know when you’re ready to retire,” he said. “I think you have to have guys who play hard and have guys that are respectful. (I’ve been) fortunate the last four or five years to have those type of kids – like this year.”
Last season the Tritons finished 19-11 but missed the playoffs. This season’s team began the season by winning the EdCC Turkey Shootout on Thanksgiving weekend and is off to a 4-1 start.
Kingsbury is keeping the team’s fast start in perspective. He’s seen past teams begin the season strong and falter later on.
“We like to have our team peak later,” he said.
The team is led by sophomores T.J. Williams, a 6-foot-9 center from Lake Stevens High School; Brad Ditter, a 6-0 guard from Redmond; and Josh Bailey, a 6-2 guard from Ingraham. Stafon Lawson, a 6-4 forward from Lynwood, Calif.; Terry Thompson, a 6-3 guard from Ingraham; and Cabe Vander Yacht, a 6-2 guard from Lynden, are among this year’s newcomers.
Lawson scored 17 points, had 10 rebounds and six assists in the Tritons’ 79-72 Turkey Shootout championship victory over Yakima Valley. Bailey also scored 17.
“(The Tritons) have a little more potential this year,” Kingsbury said, “but potential is a scary word. We have better shooters than last year. We’ll prove that as we go along.”
The team could be living up to its potential.
Thursday, the Tritons narrowly lost, 81-79, to Tacoma Community College, a team believed to be the best in the NWAACC.
“It’s best to have as many sophomores as possible,” said Walker, who is in his 16th season as EvCC’s head coach.
The Trojans suit up five sophomores, including Eric Avery, a 6-1 point guard, who returns as captain along with Luke Ande, a 6-5 sophomore from Marysville-Pilchuck High School.
Avery, along with Jeremy Hulquist, a 6-5 guard from Anchorage, Alaska, combined for 49 points in the Trojans’ 90-85 loss to Yakima Valley on Nov. 24, the team’s opening game of the Turkey Shootout. Hulquist scored a game-high 25 points and Avery finished with 24.
An NWAACC runnerup in 1995, Everett missed the playoffs last year with a 13-15 record.
Walker said he’d like to see his team cut down on turnovers and improve its rebounding before league play starts.
The Trojans don’t have anyone taller than 6-5, which is why the team will rely on its shooters. Size doesn’t always matter, however. When the team won the championship in ‘95, its tallest player was just 6-3.
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