Morgan Stacey is never the tallest guy on the court.
Standing 6-feet tall, the senior forward is the size of most perimeter players. But that hasn’t stopped Stacey from becoming a force on the interior for the Lakewood boys basketball team.
“You love what he brings to the team,” Cougars coach Anthony Wiederkehr. “He’s just a tough guy. He plays and defends guys that are six and seven inches taller than him every night. In many ways, it’s a thankless job. You see very few fives in the league that are 6-foot and can do what he does. He’s a lot of the reason we can play five (around the perimeter) and run the way we do. A lot of what we do is because he’s our five. Even though he’s undersized, he really does play like he’s 6-5 or 6-6. It’s really fun to watch.”
Stacey is averaging nearly 15 points and seven rebounds per game for Lakewood this season as the Cougars earned their first-ever berth to the regional round of the state tournament. The Herald recently caught up with him to discuss making history on the hardwood, the Lakewood football team’s postseason run and plans for the future.
You and your teammates achieved a milestone for the boys basketball program when you clinched a state regional berth after beating Burlington-Edison (Feb. 18). What does it feel like to be a part of that?
It feels really good, to be honest. We’ve worked really hard for this moment. This is what we’ve all been thinking about since the beginning of the season, even (before) that. It’s just a huge step that we took, and it feels pretty good.
You guys went into the fourth quarter of that game up one point and just kind of pulled away. Burlington-Edison entered the game as the top-ranked team in the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association’s Ratings Percentage Index. What was the key?
We definitely knew we could beat them. We just knew we had to do all the things from (the scouting report). It worked well. We held them to 18 points in the first half, so then we just trusting it and kept doing it. Eventually we just pulled away.
You were also a part of a pretty monumental season for the Lakewood football team, which made it to the state quarterfinals for the third time in program history. What’s it been like to be in a senior class that’s been able to share these successes together?
It feels great actually. A lot of us have been playing football or basketball together since we were really small, like 8 or 9 years old. We’ve been thinking about high school and how we were gonna do (since then). (Going to state) has always been our goal. So doing that in both football and basketball has been really cool.
Most post players have a decent height advantage on you, yet you’ve found quite a bit of success playing the five position this season. What’s the key to that success?
I always kind of push them and be more physical. I always try to be more physical than the other posts. It’s just always putting a body on them and trying to wear them down.
Do you think playing football helps with that physical style of play?
Oh yeah. It helps a lot.
What are your plans for after high school?
I think I’m gonna try to go to trade school or just an apprenticeship to become an electrician. I feel like it’s good getting in with the union and stuff. I feel like it’s a pretty big opportunity and they take care of you pretty well and they get paid pretty well. And I could stay around home, too.