Who’s clutch

When the clock ticks down at the end of a tight basketball game and one big play is the difference between victory and defeat, certain players have a knack for stepping up.

These athletes are clutch performers. They find a way to sink an open jump shot, knock down foul shots, bounce a perfect

pass to an open teammate or make a timely steal.

They are calm, confident difference-makers, and many of them play on a court near you.

The Herald recently invited local high school basketball coaches to identify their respective teams’ best clutch performers. Here are the coaches’ se

lections and supporting info.


Riley Newman, South Whidbey

6-3 Sr. Guard/Forward

Key stats: 27.9 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 3.8 apg, 2.1 spg.

Clutch performance: Scored six points and had three assists in the final 2 minutes of South Whidbey’s 57-53 Cascade Conference win over Cedarcrest on Jan. 7. Scored a career-high 46 points (and also had seven rebounds, four assists, two blocks and two steals) in the Falcons’ 80-74 league victory against Sultan on Tuesday.

Coach’s comment: “He is our leading scorer and leads the team in rebounds and assists.” — Henry Pope, South Whidbey boys basketball coach

Zach Cooper, Arlington

5-7 Sr. Guard

Key stats: 13.3 ppg, 6.0 apg, 3.0 spg.

Clutch performance: Arlington was losing by 10 points in the fourth quarter against Mariner on Jan. 6. Connecting from inside, outside and at the foul line, Cooper scored 22 points in the fourth and finished with 30 in the Eagles’ 70-59 win.

Coach’s comment: “Zach consistently hits big shots when needed. He hits free throws down the stretch, and he has a great court sense.” — Nick Brown, Arlington boys basketball coach

Joey Roppo, Monroe

6-1 Sr. Guard

Key stats: 11.9 ppg, 5.5 apg, 2.0 spg.

Clutch performances: Knocked down a jump shot in the final minute of Monroe’s 58-56 win over Lake Stevens on Dec. 17. In Monroe’s next game, Roppo made two foul shots that gave the Bearcats a three-point lead over Arlington with 10 seconds to go; Monroe won 66-63.

Coach’s comment: “Joey is clutch because of his solid free-throw shooting. He was over 80 percent from the line last year and is over 90 percent this season.” — Nick Wold, Monroe boys basketball coach

Brett Kingma, Jackson

6-2 Sr. Guard

Key stats: 29.3 ppg, 4.5 apg.

Coach’s comment: Kingma, who makes 80 percent of his free throws, has made “many game-winning shots over the years and I have to believe that there isn’t one coach out there who wouldn’t fear him the most in a game where one shot could beat him.” — Steve Johnson, Jackson boys basketball coach

Tre Haslom, Lakewood

6-4 Sr. Guard

Key stats: 21.4 ppg, 6.0 rpg.

Clutch performances: Haslom scored 28 points in the second half at Sultan in a 59-58 Cascade Conference win on Jan. 7. He finished with 37 points.

Coach’s comment: “Tre is our most consistent and reliable scorer. He continues to put the team on his back down the stretch of games and has led us to three wins already this season by three points or less.” — Matt Hart, Lakewood boys basketball coach

Dakota Tomson, Lake Stevens

5-8 Soph. Guard

Key stat: 11.7 ppg, 86 percent FT percentage, 38 percent 3-point percentage.

Clutch performance: Scored his team’s last five points when Lake Stevens rallied for a 46-42 Wesco 4A crossover victory against Cascade on Jan. 11.

Coach’s comment: “Even though he is a sophomore and first-year varsity player he has come into his own as a scorer and is our leading scorer, 3-point shooter and free-throw leader. … He has the skill level and confidence to make big plays when it counts.” — Mark Hein, Lake Stevens boys basketball coach

Michael Washington Jr., Oak Harbor

6-3 Jr. Guard

Key stat: 18.1 ppg, 2.0 spg, 2.0 apg.

Clutch performance: Scored 27 points and grabbed eight rebounds in a 69-62 Wesco 3A win versus Mountlake Terrace on Dec. 21.

Coach’s comment: “Michael Jr. wants the ball in his hands all the time.” — Mike Washington, Oak Harbor boys basketball coach

Torin Dooley, Meadowdale

6-1 Jr. Guard

Key stat: 12.1 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 4.0 apg, 2.0 spg.

Coach’s comment: Dooley “has the ability to change the momentum of the game or win a game with his defense or offense. Defensively, Torin has gotten key steals at the end of games and made key hustle plays. Offensively, Torin has made clutch shots and has made key free throws at the end of games.” — Chad McGuire, Meadowdale boys basketball coach

Johnnie Hilliard, Cascade

6-3 Sr. Guard

Key stat: 15.7 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 2.0 spg.

Coach’s comment: “Johnnie has developed into a player that wants the ball in important situations. He also will take the player with the hot hand from the other team to try to shut him down. He is a quiet leader who has quickly become a team leader for us.” — Dan Hornaday, Cascade boys basketball coach


Angela Woods, Edmonds-Woodway

5-10 Sr. Forward

Key stat: 15.9 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 75 percent on FTs, 38 percent on 3-pointers.

Coach’s comment: “She always wants the ball in her hands when the other team has to foul. Some players play hot potato with the ball. She WANTS to get fouled and go to the line.” — Duane Hodges, Edmonds-Woodway girls basketball coach

Courtney Morris, Sultan

5-8 Fr. Wing

Key stat: 6.8 ppg.

Coach’s comment: “She is our best free-throw shooter and our leading (field-goal percentage) shooter. Whenever we need a hoop late in the game, I run a play for her. Clutch does not always mean scoring a crucial basket or scoring the winning points. To me, being clutch means making the right decision when it needs to be made and thus Courtney Morris is our best clutch player.” — Bill Woolley, Sultan girls basketball coach

Brianne Lasconia, Shorecrest

5-8 Jr. Guard

Key stats: 14.7 ppg; leads team in steals, No. 2 in assists, No. 3 in rebounds.

Clutch performance: Made a 3-pointer with 2 seconds remaining to give Shorecrest a 41-40 Wesco 3A triumph over Glacier Peak on Friday.

Coach’s comment: “Last season, as a sophomore, Bri was a driving force in our first-ever trip to state. This season, she has taken her game to a new level. … When the game is on the line, I want the ball in her hands.” — Dori Monson, Shorecrest girls basketball coach

Peyton Spencer, Granite Falls

5-7 Jr. Guard

Key stats: 19.6 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 3.8 spg, 2.1 apg.

Clutch performances: Scored 25 points in the second half — including two free throws with less than a second to go — in the Tigers’ 56-55 non-league come-from-behind win over Meridian on Dec. 30. Also made two victory-clinching foul shots at the end of Granite Falls’ 61-56 Cascade Conference triumph against Lakewood on Jan. 8.

Coach’s comment: “Peyton has the ability to score in bunches.” — Mark Neuman, Granite Falls girls basketball coach

Becca Lentz, Marysville-Pilchuck

5-7 Jr. Guard

Key stats: 8.5 rpg, 5.0 ppg, 4.0 spg, 4.0 apg.

Clutch performance: Had three steals and two 3-pointers late in the fourth quarter to help force overtime in M-P’s Wesco 4A crossover game against state-ranked Edmonds-Woodway on Jan. 10.

Coach’s comment: Lentz is “athletic and hits clutch 3s and (makes) several steals in very important stretches in games.” — Julie Martin, Marysville-Pilchuck girls basketball coach

Meghan Warbis, Lake Stevens

5-8 Sr. Forward

Key stats: 10.5 ppg, 9.5 rpg.

Coach’s comment: “Meghan is really the hub of our team and does so many things for us beyond scoring that this season her scoring has made her a complete player. … She certainly has the ability to carry our team on her back at times and has done so several times throughout her career in a variety of ways.” — Randall Edens, Lake Stevens girls basketball coach

Kaylee Diggs, Lakewood

5-10 Jr. Post

Key stats: 9.3 ppg, 9.8 rpg, scores 33 percent of team’s points.

Clutch performance: Back on the court this winter after suffering a knee injury last season, Diggs was 13 of 16 at the free-throw line, scored a season-high 19 points and grabbed 14 rebounds on Jan. 8 in a Cascade Conference game versus Granite Falls. Helped Cougars cut a 21-point deficit to two in their eventual 61-56 loss.

Coach’s comment: “Her 13 free throws in the (Granite Falls) game tied a school record, while she helped her teammates break the school record for points in a quarter with 28 in the fourth.” — Chris Walster, Lakewood girls basketball coach

Francine Pierre, Tulalip Heritage

5-8 Jr. Post

Key stats: 12.0 ppg, 12.0 rpg.

Clutch performance: Pierre dove for and grabbed a loose ball, was fouled and made two free throws at the end of Tulalip’s four-point win over Marysville-Getchell on Jan. 7.

Coach’s comment: A team co-captain, Pierre “makes her free throws when we need them most. She never gives up. She is always encouraging her teammates. She is an excellent role model to the team, school and community.” — Justina Brown, Tulalip Heritage girls basketball coach

Mindy James, Mountlake Terrace

5-4 Sr. Guard

Key stats: 12.9 ppg; leads team in assists and steals; No. 2 in blocked shots.

Clutch performances: James made numerous timely plays in each of Mountlake Terrace’s four victories this season, including the Hawks’ first win, when she made a two-pointer, a 3-pointer and 7 of 8 free throws in the fourth quarter of a 51-42 Wesco 3A triumph over Shorewood on Dec. 10.

Coach’s comment: “Clutch to me is the player (like James) who sets a great example to their teammates by being on time, working hard in all drills, learning from mistakes and competing all the time while pulling along other players towards the team’s goals. Clutch in a game is when all those practice aspects are translated into making the right plays at the correct times.” — David Brophy, Mountlake Terrace girls basketball coach

Julia Young, Snohomish

5-7 Jr. Guard

Key stats: 16.8 ppg, 80 percent FT.

Clutch performances: Scored 14 points, including seven free throws, after the third quarter in the Panthers’ 60-50 Wesco 4A overtime victory versus Monroe on Dec. 10. Made 7 of 8 foul shots and scored 12 points in the final quarter (29 points total) of Snohomish’s Wesco 4A crossover 54-49 win over Kamiak on Friday.

Coach’s comment: “Julia wants the ball and usually comes through with big shots in pressure situations. She is also a great free-throw shooter who is even better with the game on the line.” — Ken Roberts, Snohomish girls basketball coach

Janelle Yoshimoto, Oak Harbor

4-10 Sr. Guard

Key stats: 9.4 ppg, single-game season high of 22 points.

Coach’s comment: “When the game is on the line or we need something done on the floor, we want the ball in Yoshi’s hands. She will get it done or put the people in line to get it done.” — Trisha Clayville, Oak Harbor girls basketball coach

Michaela O’Neill, Meadowdale

5-7 Sr. Post

Key stats: 8.7 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 4.0 apg.

Coach’s comment: A team co-captain, O’Neill “has iced state tournament games, made clutch 3-pointers to win games and shut down opposing offensive players when we most need it. She is not afraid of the big moment and fully expects to be successful at the time of the game, where many players shrink into the background.” — Troy Parker, Meadowdale girls basketball coach

Meghan Cross, Lynnwood

5-10 Jr. Wing

Key stats: 9.9 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 2.0 spg.

Clutch performance: Tallied a double-double (14 points, 13 rebounds) in Lynnwood’s 57-41 Wesco 3A win versus then-second-place Everett on Jan. 5. A week earlier, Cross made a key 3-pointer late in a non-league victory against Juanita. — Everett Edwards, Lynnwood girls basketball coach

Kristin Stoffel, Jackson

5-11 Jr. Post/Forward

Key stats: 11.9 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 3.0 bpg, 2.0 apg.

Coach’s comment: “She is steady, doesn’t make mistakes, is in the right position on defense all the time and generally keeps our young team composed!” — Jeannie Boyer, Jackson girls basketball coach

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