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The latest news and analysis on high-school sports around the Seattle area

December 16, 2009 at 2:59 PM

Stanwood’s season is all about the supporting cast

Zach Ward was doing his best to stay positive. But you could tell the nature of Stanwood’s 64-55 home loss to defending Wesco North champion Lake Stevens on Friday didn’t settle well with the third-year coach.

“We’ve got to get over that — it’s been the issue every game.”

‘That’ would be the Spartans’ inconsistency for long stretches throughout each loss to that point. It happened in a single-digit season-opening loss at 3A No. 5 Seattle Prep and in a one-point home loss to No. 9 Meadowdale.

With a pair of returning first-team all-Wesco North selections — both four-year varsity players, one would think that focus and steadiness would be second nature. But in all actuality, Stanwood’s reliance on the inside-outside combo of Kale Schmidt and Zack Johnson was exposed in a 1-3 start.

“Those are our first-team all-leaguers and a lot of what we do revolves around them,” Ward said. “If we can get other guys to step up around them, that’s when we’re pretty good.”

Neither Schmidt (three points) or the bench (two points) did much against Lake Stevens’ mix of pressing defenses. Had Drew Haugstad (20 points — 14 in the second half) not caught fire, it would have been a disaster. The 5-11 senior was sixth in scoring last year but third among returnees.

“Drew’s a kid that’s playing out of position,” Ward said. “He’s not a point guard or a primary ball-handler. But he’s doing a heck of a job adapting to that on the run.”

The Spartans, who were 17-7 overall and 13-3 in league last year, are considered to be the greatest challenger to Lake Stevens (which eliminated them at districts) with seven seniors in their eight-man rotation. Arlington, however, has high aspirations despite losing its top five scorers.

That’s why Tuesday’s home contest against the Eagles was so critical.

The Spartans managed to overcome a halftime deficit for the first time in four tries this season with a much-needed 68-67 win behind the 42 combined points from Johnson (22) and Schmidt. Moreover, a potential fourth scorer emerged as senior guard Ryan Jamieson had eight points — three behind Haugstad.

Next up for the Spartans (2-3, 2-1) is a game Friday at Monroe.

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