Welcome to The Fifth Quarter. This spot will host TFQ each Monday and will be a place to discuss the happenings of boys basketball, whether it is the upcoming week of play or a look in the rearview mirror. It will also be a time we can take a moment for things that may not make it into a normal blog post during the week.
Before we go on, I’ll admit I’ve stolen the name from Jayson Jenks, who you might remember was on the high-school sports beat a year ago at this time. I haven’t told Jayson that I’m stealing the name, so don’t tell him. It’ll be our secret.
But enough about Jayson, this is basketball season. Let’s jump right in. We’re going to use today to take stock of where things sit after a couple weeks of games. At this early juncture in the season, it’s always nice to see if things are playing out like everyone thought they would.
I’ll include a disclaimer at the top. Not every team and every league will be touched on, but I will do my best effort in the coming weeks to include teams that have not been mentioned in the past.
(Note: This week’s rankings are, and always will be, at the bottom)
What we know: Rainier Beach is good. As in, really good. The defending 3A state champions are the favorites to win again in Tacoma, and there is very a good reason for that. Actually, quite a few.
About last year’s title, the team had its championship ceremony on Saturday after its win over Seattle Prep.
It starts with the players. Shaqquan Aaron has signed to play at Louisville next year and he is very deserving. The 6-foot-7 senior has a dangerous blend of skills. Aaron will look to drive if he catches the ball on the wing and has a quick first step that allows him to penetration. When he gets into the lane, though, Aaron’s good court vision allows him to find open teammates. He also happens to be a pretty good shooter.
Aaron is averaging 25.3 points per game, but it’s the talent around him that makes this Rainier Beach team dangerous. Take your pick: David Crisp, Dejounte Murray, Djuan Piper, Elijah Foster, Naim Ladd. Take your pick. I am also impressed with Shadeed Abdul-Salaam, one of the few juniors on the team. Good scoring mentality and very active.
Lorenzo Romar was at last Saturday’s game against Seattle Prep. Word on Twitter from those that follow recruiting closely is he was probably in attendance to see Murray, a 6-foot-4 guard. I talked to Romar and when I asked him who he was there to see, he smiled and said there was talent on both teams.
If Romar was in attendance to watch Murray, it is for good reason. Murray is long and athletic and an intriguing class of 2015 prospect.
In order to be successful against Rainier Beach, it appears teams will have to slow the game down. Seattle Prep did a good job of that early, but the pace picked up in the second half and the Vikings quickly had a big lead.
Speaking of Seattle Prep … the Panthers are one of many good teams in the Metro League that don’t have a Viking as its mascot. Seattle Prep doesn’t have the star power in DJ Fenner that it lost from last season, but the young frontcourt of Jordan Kitchen and Sean Gummersall should develop into one of the best in the league.
And elsewhere in the Metro: The Metro, per usual, has a lot of talent. There are too many to list right now, so for today we’ll focus on sophomore Keith Smith, who is a special talent that has received an offer from the UW already. At 6 foot 5, Smith has shown his scoring ability with 29 points against Mountlake Terrace — exactly half of the team’s 58.
Hey, what’s going on in Wesco 4A? The early feeling was that Arlington and Jackson were the teams to beat in Wesco 4A. Nothing to date has changed that line of thought.
Jackson has only played one game, and struggled for awhile in it, but pulled away from Edmonds-Woodway for a 79-60 win. Edmonds-Woodway went with a zone to try to slow down the Jackson offense, but the Timberwolves made it pay by shooting 44 percent from outside the arc.
Jason Todd (Portland commit) and Dan Kingma (will walk-on at Washington) combined to go 8-for-17 from three-point land.
“In terms of shooting the ball early, not a lot of rust there.” head coach Steve Johnson said.
Arlington does have one loss, but that came against 3A then-No. 10 Stanwood. Of its five wins, only one has come by less than 17 points. Two key games for Arlington this season will come on back-to-back days when it faces Newport and Jackson on Jan. 20 and Jan. 21, respectively.
Let’s take a quick look at the SPSL 4A where Jawan Stepney and Kentridge are unsurprisingly 5-0. The intrigue to me comes from the South Division, where Curtis and Beamer have both started 4-0. They play each other this Friday in what should be a great game heading into the Winter Break.
And now for the rankings.
1. Jackson (1-0)
Beat Edmonds-Woodway 79-60
2. Garfield (4-0)
Beat Newport 73-48; beat Ballard 65-54
3. Central Valley (3-0)
Beat Gonzaga Prep 51-43; beat Shadle Park 64-44
4. Kentridge (5-0)
Beat Kentwood 65-40; beat Auburn Riverside 90-55; beat Auburn Mountainview 62-37
5. Issaquah (2-1)
Beat Roosevelt 53-49; beat Skyline 58-49
6. Ferris (3-0)
Beat University 57-45; beat Mead 67-63
7. Richland (3-0)
Beat Post Falls 83-57; beat Hermiston 90-69
8. Arlington (5-1)
Lost to No.10 Stanwood 76-61; beat Monroe 66-32; beat Union 55-47
9. Beamer (3-1)
Beat Emerald Ridge 82-56; beat Spanaway Lake 87-53
10. Curtis (4-0)
Beat Puyallup 58-48; beat Federal Way 72-71
1. Rainier Beach (3-0)
Beat Ingraham 113-45; beat West Seattle 109-58; beat No. 7 Seattle Prep 78-49
2. Bellevue (4-0)
Beat Sammamish 71-45; beat Interlake 84-37; beat No. 10 Bothell 92-44
3. O’Dea (3-0)
Beat Nathan Hale 63-45; beat Eastside Catholic 64-63
4. Mercer Island (4-0)
Beat Juanita 66-46
5. Wilson (2-0)
Beat Mount Tahoma 86-46
6. Franklin (3-0)
Beat Bishop Blanchet 68-57; beat Nathan Hale 73-61; beat No. 6 Mountlake Terrace 58-53
7. Stanwood (5-0)
Beat No. 6 Arlington 76-61; beat Oak Harbor 72-47; beat Union 65-59
8. Mountlake Terrace (4-1)
Beat Eastlake 78-51; beat Meadowdale 57-44; lost to No. 8 Franklin 58-53
9. Seattle Prep (3-1)
Beat Cleveland 59-44; lost to No. 1 Rainier Beach 78-49
10. Columbia River (3-0)
1. Pullman (3-0)
Beat Lewiston 64-33; beat Lakeland 63-58
2. Sumner (2-1)
Beat Orting 74-27
3. Anacortes (4-0)
Beat Burlington-Edison 73-65; beat Tumwater 66-52
4. Clarkston (4-0)
Beat Lewiston 68-35; beat Moscow 75-43
5. Mark Morris (3-0)
Beat Skyview 63-53
6. West Valley (Spokane) (5-0)
Beat Lakeland 71-25; beat Sandpoint 65-48
7. Sequim (3-0)
Beat Olympic 57-50; beat Neah Bay 72-66
8. Lake Washington (5-0)
Beat Juanita 76-44; beat Cedarcrest 78-48; beat Mount Si 90-67
9. Steilacoom (4-0)
Beat Life Christian 66-45; beat Franklin Pierce 61-44
10. East Valley (Yakima) (4-0)
Beat Ephrata 78-63; beat Prosser 62-35