Issaquah Eagles boys basketball player Charlie Dietiker (No. 32) corrals a rebound against the Skyline Spartans during the 2018-19 season. Photo courtesy of Rick Edelman/Rick Edelman Photography

Issaquah Eagles boys basketball player Charlie Dietiker (No. 32) corrals a rebound against the Skyline Spartans during the 2018-19 season. Photo courtesy of Rick Edelman/Rick Edelman Photography

Eagles are sharpening their hardwood skills this summer

Issaquah boys basketball team looking to build on stellar 2018-19 season.

Their playoff run on the basketball court was the buzz of the Issaquah community this past winter.

The Issaquah Eagles boys basketball program finished just one game shy of reaching the Tacoma Dome for the Class 4A state tournament. Glacier Peak earned a 56-49 victory in a winner-to-state, loser-out regional playoff game on Feb. 22 in Everett.

Issaquah head coach Brad Valentine, who will be in his second season leading the program when the 2019-20 season kicks off in November, said his squad has played proficiently throughout summer hoops tournaments. The Eagles have compiled an overall record of 9-8 through the month of June. The Eagles concluded their summer league play with a trip to a basketball camp at Gonzaga.

“We are leaving on Sunday (June 30),” Valentine said during an interview on June 24. “That will be really good for us to have some team bonding. We will get the chance to get over there and get away from everything and be together as a team. Summer has been going steady. We’ve added some new guys and we have other guys who are taking on bigger roles. We are still putting the pieces to the puzzle together and still haven’t had that total complete game yet. We’ve had some moments where we’ve looked really good.”

Valentine said returning varsity players Charlie Dietiker, Timmy Crandall and Saxon Cullimore are displaying their leadership in the offseason. The highlight of the summer undoubtedly is the emergence of Danny Howe. Howe, who is 6-feet, 8-inches tall, came off the bench last season as a sophomore but figures to be a viable centerpiece for the Eagles as a junior.

“Danny has really blossomed and stepped up. He’s been our most consistent scorer throughout the summer. He has developed a lot more confidence in himself and has been flying around. It has been fun to see him grow. He is going to be a really good basketball player for us the next year two years. He will have the opportunity to play in college for sure,” Valentine said of Howe.

Valentine is excited about leading the Eagles hoops program for the second consecutive season. Valentine plans on sticking around for the long haul.

“The continuity of what we are trying to do is staying the same. The kids know me and they know the terminology. I’m enjoying getting more entrenched in the Issaquah community. I love it here. One of the better decisions I have ever made was coming here. The kids are great,” Valentine said.

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