The Enumclaw Hornets advanced to the 2023 state tournament quarterfinals March 1 in Yakima with a win over the second-seeded Anacortes Seahawks.
Enumclaw has now won 18 of its last 19 games — one of the best stretches in the state.
“It’s been a team effort all year, which I think is a strength of ours,” Head Coach Terry Johnson said about his team working together.
The Hornets’ last loss was to the Renton Redhawks in the district championship game on Feb. 18. That loss is the only one the Hornets have taken since Dec. 27. It is the second consecutive year a team that was seeded eight places apart has upset the higher seed at the 2A tournament. Last year, White River (6 seed) was upset by Prosser (14 seed).
“We wanted to stay true to who we are. We have been really good defensively this year. They had some talented kids and one of the best players in the state. We just wanted to come out and execute and make them work as hard as possible and I think we did that,” said Johnson.
The Hornets got out front of the Seahawks early in the game, only allowing Anacortes to score 13 points in the first half.
“Wyatt Neu did a great job defensively. He’s our guy on defense. He did a wonderful job,” Noah Seabrands said of his teammate.
“We hit some shots, some tough shots at that. Our guys just executed our game plan on both ends of the floor. It’s a credit to our guys and them preparing not only physically, but mentally. Knowing how we needed to play in order to get a chance to win,” Johnson said.
The defense is where the Hornets make their money. Over the last 20 games, Enumclaw has allowed over 50 points five times. Against Anacortes, the Hornets allowed just a single Seahawk to end in double figures.
At the break, Enumclaw led 35-13, a lead that they would keep the entire game. Following a very strong first half, the two teams would total the same score in the second. Both teams scored 28 points in the half.
The Hornets’ leading score was Noah Seabrands, who finished the contest with a game high 22 points.
“We’ve got several guys who can take over games at any point. Sometimes it’s been Carter DeRosier, or Karson Holt. Everybody is always willing to contribute. But tonight it was Noah’s night,” Johnson said.
Enumclaw didn’t make the state tournament last year, and this year, they wanted to stay and enjoy their time in Yakima.
“Last year, we didn’t make it here, and this year we wanted to stay longer so we could get some guaranteed games,” Seabrands said.
As the 10 seed, Enumclaw is moving on to face the top-seeded Pullman High School.
“Obviously we’re going to have to be great defensively. We know how good they are, we respect them a ton … But we’re going to play the best we can, stay loose and enjoy the moment … We’ve asked our guys to give their best for each other and that’s what they’ve done,” Johnson said.