EHS BASKETBALL: Enumclaw sweeps past White River on way to league title

The No. 1-ranked Class 3A boys basketball squad Enumclaw High sprinkled a little more sugar on its already sweet 16 consecutive South Puget Sound League 3A victory Friday night before a packed house at White River as it relished going undefeated, 20-0, on the league campaign and in topping its cross-river nemesis White River 75-46.

A cliff-hanging 54-52 conquest over an aggressive Franklin Pierce crew in front of a standing-room-only congregation in Chuck Smith Gymnasium Feb. 9 was the victory that sealed Enumclaw’s third consecutive SPSL 3A title for Enumclaw as it cut down the nets following that nail biter.

The vaunted and senior-ladened Enumclaw cagers have been declared the SPSL 3A’s No. 1 seed heading into Saturday’s subdistrict rendezvous with the Seamount League’s No. 1 Kennedy Catholic beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the Bonney Lake High gymnasium.

Kennedy Catholic struggled to keep its clutches on the Seamount League crown with a 12-4 mark as it lost to lesser league opponents Hazen and Evergreen and had an upstart Foster bunch nipping at its heels all season long.

The Lancers seem to have a reasonably sound nucleus led by 6-foot, 4-inch, sophomore, forward Mitch Penner and junior, point guard Deshea Bell, who are among the Seamount League’s top point scorers, both averaging 20 points per contest.

Meanwhile in the SPSL 3A rivalry action, Friday’s encounter was a stellar offensive performance spearheaded by the 17-point contribution of EHS senior guard Taylor Myers. The EHS Hornets doubled up on the out matched White River unit and at intermission the scoreboard read 34-17 in favor of Enumclaw.

While no White River player managed to tabulate double digit scoring – with the exception of prominent sophomore guard Jason Tyler, who put up a dozen points in an evening’s work – Enumclaw seniors Riley Carel and Tarren VanTrojen chipped in 14 points apiece despite just playing the first three quarters.

As the lopsided tilt wore on, Enumclaw substituted liberally resting all of its starters in the fourth period, but even Enumclaw’s understudies held their own against White River’s starters, as the Pierce County Hornets barely outscored the King County Hornets’ backups 19-17 in the fourth frame.

“Enumclaw is loaded in basically every aspect of the game,” said first-year White River coach Rick Tripp. “They’ve got senior leadership, great shooting, physicality, super rebounding. I just can’t see anyone in our district beating them and I feel as though they’ve got a good chance to do some real special things as they move forward in the post-season.”

Tripp’s contingent finished 6-10 in the SPSL 3A and 6-14 overall.

The optimistic Tripp prognosticates sunnier skies on the horizon as his hoopsters will drop down to the 2A classification next season, playing the likes of Steilacoom, Washington, Eatonville, Fife, Clover Park, nearby Sumner and Franklin Pierce in the newly reformed eight-member SPSL 2A.

“We’ll lose a couple of great seniors in Chad Sayler and A.J. Rice, but we have a promising group returning in juniors Billy Kiel, Jason Tyler and sophomore Alex Sayler, all three of whom were outstanding varsity players for us during the 2009-10 season, as well as senior Nikko Wolfskill and sophomore Lyle McCarragher, who both really came on for the junior varsity squad at the end of season,” Tripp said.