One thing I can almost certainly promise: The format and structure of the Fifth Quarter will change in the next couple of editions. I’m still figuring out what I want to do for basketball season, but here is the first edition with a few features I wanted to test out.
In this edition, we’ll look at Seattle Prep’s big win, a perfectly executed shot at the buzzer and we’ll tip our hats to an individual and team. As always, top performances and rankings can be found at the bottom of the blog.
But first, let’s get to Seattle Prep’s big win…
All the pieces fitting together on Fenner-led Seattle Prep
Seattle Prep didn’t return much from a team that made it to the Class 3A state championship game last year, but the Panthers did return one invaluable piece of the puzzle in 2012: 6-foot-6 guard D.J. Fenner.
So far, Fenner, who is signed with Nevada, has lived up to any and all expectations, averaging 27.3 points per game in helping Prep to a 4-0 record and No. 6 ranking.
In Prep’s 58-56 win against a quality Lakeside team to open the year, Fenner hit what proved to be the game-winning shot with less than 30 seconds left. Then, on Friday, he scored 32 points in leading Seattle Prep to a 55-50 win at then-No. 3 Bellarmine Prep.
Yet Prep’s early success is also due to the toil of those around the talented Fenner. Against Bellarmine Prep, freshman Sean Gummersall hit a baseline jumper with two minutes left that halted a Bellarmine Prep rally.
Then, 30 seconds later, Fenner penetrated and kicked out to Angelo Marchesini, who provided the game’s dagger by knocking down the three and putting Prep up seven. Junior point guard Laurence Hicks also hit two big jumpers at the end of quarters against the Lions.
“This team easily recognizes who they are as individuals and who they are as a team,” Seattle Prep coach Mike Kelly said. “Sometimes when you have a kid like D.J., sometimes you worry about other kids getting out of their roles. But everybody seems really content.”
The Panthers trailed 25-22 at halftime against Bellarmine Prep, but they outscored the Lions 20-4 in the third quarter. It should be noted that Bellarmine Prep played without any of its football players, who just finished their season in the Class 4A state championship game against Skyline the week before.
But the Lions still have talented players, including 6-foot-8 Gonzaga signee Lucas Meikle, who Fenner, a guard, clamped down on for much of the game.
“The thing that I liked about D.J.’s game was he got better as the game went on,” Kelly said, “and his defense on Lucas was a huge factor.”
So, too, were the contributions from Prep’s role players, who stepped up at big moments in road games against Lakeside and Bellarmine Prep.
It doesn’t get any easier for the Panthers moving forward: They turn around and play Eastside Catholic, Rainier Beach and O’Dea in their next three games.
Undersized Sealth ahead of schedule with 4-0 start
Chief Sealth coach Colin Slingsby admits two things. First, his team is a “little ahead of schedule” with its 4-0 start, which includes an impressive win against Eastside Catholic.
The second point is a bit more historical. The Seahawks started last year 9-2 before finishing the regular season 12-8. Sealth lost key scorer Charlie Smith for a couple games, but Slingsby said the issue went beyond that.
“We’ve got to learn from that with this year’s group,” he said. “They understand it’s nice to get a good start and these early league wins certainly help us down the line, but when we look back to last year, we didn’t close out the second half of the regular season.
“Part of that was a key injury, but it was also not knowing how to handle that good start the right way.”
The Seahawks are a guard-heavy team that makes up for its lack of size (senior Trevor Reed is Sealth’s tallest post player at 6-foot-5) with savvy guard play. Seniors Aaron Knox, Vidal Griffin and Bronte’ Corbray are the catalysts for Sealth’s attack.
Corbray, in particular, is a major piece of Sealth’s offense, averaging 24 points in his last two games.
“Bronte’ is really good off the dribble and in the open floor,” Slingsby said. “We’ve worked hard on his shot the last couple of years. I think he’ll shoot well this year. I know he’s put up some good numbers, but he really hasn’t shot it extremely well yet. When he does, that’s when he can be a pretty scary player.”
Sealth will get the ultimate test as the undersized Seahawks play Rainier Beach, one of the biggest teams in the state.
Hats off to…
– Individual: Auburn Riverside guard Derek Brown, who scored 49 points in his team’s 85-77 loss to Kentridge on Friday. Brown, a 6-foot-1 junior, was the only Riverside player to score in double figures. In five games, Browne has averaged 31.2 points per game. The Ravens are 2-3 this season under first-year coach Jason Brown, matching their win total from last year.
– Team: Mercer Island. The Islanders are off to a 3-0 start this season and knocked off Bellarmine Prep 56-48 in overtime on Saturday. (I swear I’m not trying to pick on Bellarmine Prep). Junior Kaleb Warner scored 30 points in a win earlier this season, and Nick Nordale (17 points) and Joe Rasmussen (15 points) turned around and led the Islanders against Bellarmine Prep.
Highlight to watch…
Roosevelt’s game-winning shot at the buzzer to beat Skyline 50-49 on Friday. The Roughriders had played their first two opponents close for much of those games but eventually dropped both.
Then, at Skyline on Friday, Roosevelt trailed the Spartans by nine in the fourth quarter. This time, though, Roosevelt rallied to make things interesting in the final seconds behind 15 points from senior Ben Zambroski.
And that all led to this: A long inbounds pass from Mitchell Shepherd to Josa Bantzer, who dumped the ball off to sophomore Cam Haslem. Haslem is one of Roosevelt’s best shooters, but he had made just five of 22 (23 percent) shots before the final seconds on Friday.
But Haslem, who finished with a season-high seven points, calmly tossed up a deep 3-pointer at the buzzer and, well, here see for yourself here.
– Seattle Prep’s D.J. Fenner scored 32 points against Bellarmine Prep.
– Shorewood’s Josh Hawkinson scored 24 points against Shorecrest.
– Arlington’s Terry Dawn scored 23 points against Monroe.
– Bothell’s Zach Lavine scored 24 points against Eastlake.
– Ballard’s Johnny Verduin had 21 points against Newport.
– Ballard’s Seth Berger scored 20 points against Newport.
– Kentridge’s John Okot-Okidi scored 20 points against Auburn Riverside.
– Garfield’s Tucker Haymond had 21 points against Issaquah.
– Auburn Riverside’s Derek Browne had 49 points against Kentridge.
– O’Dea’s Jacob Lampkin scored 19 points against Eastside Catholic.
– Jackson’s Jason Todd had 31 points against Edmonds-Woodway.
– Hazen’s Dominic Green had 20 points against Renton.
– Eastside Catholic’s Mandrell Worthy scored 26 points against O’Dea.
– Chief Sealth’s Aaron Knox scored 23 points against Bainbridge.
Games to watch:
– Rainier Beach at Chief Sealth, 7: 30 p.m…Clash of undefeated and a good test for Sealth
– Seattle Prep at Eastside Catholic, 7:30 p.m….Prep is coming off a big win against Bellarmine Prep; Eastside Catholic coming off a big win against rival O’Dea.
– Clover Park at White River, 7 p.m….Two ranked teams in 2A.
– Bethel at Federal Way, 7 p.m….Bethel is 3-0 while Federal Way hasn’t been in a close game yet.
– Garfield at Ballard, 8 p.m….A clash of big-time scorers in Garfield’s Tucker Haymond and Ballard’s Seth Berger.
– Rainier Beach at Seattle Prep, 8 p.m…Can D.J. Fenner and Co. hang with a incredibly deep Beach team?
– Shorewood at Mountlake Terrace, 7:15 p.m…Shorewood’s Josh Hawkinson vs. perhaps the best team in WesCo in Mountlake Terrace.
– Bellevue at Bothell, 7:30 p.m….Wolverines are solid; Bothell has looked really impressive so far.
Disclaimer: The rankings are going to be extremely fluid the first month of the season. Part of that is me getting to know all the teams and leagues. Part of it is simply having a longer time to know where teams stand. And part of it is teams getting to full strength; Bellarmine Prep has two losses in 4A but the Lions haven’t had their football players yet this year. So take these rankings (as all high school rankings should be taken) with a grain of salt. They will change dramatically in the coming weeks.
1. Bothell 2-0
2. Federal Way 3-0
3. Garfield (Seattle) 2-1
4. Jackson (Mill Creek) 3-0
5. Central Valley (Spokane Valley) 3-0
6. Bellarmine Prep (Tacoma) 0-2
7. Richland 2-0
8. Olympia 5-0
9. Issaquah 3-1
10. Gonzaga Prep (Spokane) 2-1
Out: Union (Vancouver) 3-2
1. Rainier Beach 2-0
2. Lincoln (Tacoma) 3-0
3. Franklin 3-0
4. University (Spokane) 3-0
5. Kamiakin (Kennewick) 3-0
6. Seattle Prep 3-0
7. Mercer Island 3-0
8. Mountlake Terrace 4-1
9. Chief Sealth 4-0
10. Foss (Tacoma) 2-1
Out: O’Dea (2-1)
1. Lynden 0-0
2. Renton 5-0
3. White River 4-1
4. Mark Morris 3-0
5. Clover Park 2-2
6. Ellensburg 4-0
7. Pullman 3-1
8. Lake Washington 4-0
9. River Ridge 2-3
10. Ridgefield (3-1)
Out: West Valley (Yakima), Sammamish