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Basketball is family fun for Engebretsens
Enumclaw High boys basketball coach Phil Engebretsen says his mom Kathryn has always been a supporter, but it was special to see her in a Hornet T-shirt cheering with Hornet fans at the state basketball championships.
“She’s been here the last month following the Hornets on their dream ride,” Phil said.
Kathryn left Sunday to catch a flight back to Alaska so she could be at the side of Phil’s younger brother Ryan. Ryan Engebretsen is coaching the Wasilla Warriors in the Alaska high school state tournament. The Warriors entered the tournament Monday.
It’s a bit eerie how the coaching Engebretsens’ lives mirror one another.
Both led top teams in their states. Both are making a state championship tournament appearance. Phil, who took over the Hornets in 2003, was named South Puget Sound League Coach of the Year. Ryan, who coached with Phil at Colony High and has led the Warriors since 2007, was named Conference Coach of the Year.
When Enumclaw met Wasilla in the Doc Larsen Roundball Classic in Alaska in December, Phil’s Hornets won 46-33. It was the first time the two had met as head coaches on opposing teams during a regular season varsity high school game.
“Coaching is their passion,” Kathryn said before leaving her hotel for Ryan’s opening game.
“For me it wasn’t about wins or losses, it was about watching my son do what he loves to do.”
She said Phil and Ryan’s hearts are into more than winning – they want to mentor their players to be good men after their high school careers.
Kathryn has been a big supporter of all four of her basketball playing boys and three daughters – thousands of games.
Living in Homer, Alaska, Kathryn and Phil’s father often drive the five-hour, one-way trip to Wasilla to watch Ryan coach. Phil said his Dad was in the Lower 48 for a time, but had to head back for work.
Brother Rick and his family came up from Oregon for the tournament, too.
Ryan was checking in with Phil regularly from tipoff of the Hornets’ state run to its second-place finish Saturday.
Now it’s Phil’s turn to check in with Ryan, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if Phil turns in his frequent flier miles to make a quick trip to support Ryan should his team make the title game like the Hornets.
“We pull for each other and support each other,” Phil said of his brother. “We have a great relationship. I’m proud of him.”
Phil is also bursting with pride for his team and community. The pride and enthusiasm for his team and the way the Hornets were able to energize the community, he said, was something special he and the team are holding on to tight.