Issaquah Eagles first-year head coach Brad Valentine’s emotions were evident following the final game of the 2018-19 boys basketball season.
The Glacier Peak Grizzlies earned a 56-49 victory in a winner-to-state, loser-out regional playoff game on Feb. 22 in Everett. Issaquah finished the season with an overall record of 11-14. The Eagles finished just one game shy of reaching the Tacoma Dome for the Class 4A state tournament.
“It was a really good year. We wanted to get further than we got, obviously. Tonight was especially a tough one (loss). We had some opportunities throughout to have a different result,” Valentine said of the season finale.
Valentine credited seniors Asa Taylor, Jonathan Lo, Brian Yoon and Jameson Pastor for their open-minded nature and leadership throughout the duration of the season.
“This senior group had five coaches in four years. They set the tone with how they treated me and accepted me as their coach,” Valentine said. “The whole culture of the program changed because of how they accepted me. That is a pretty tough thing to do but they did it. That set the tone for the year with this group.”
Valentine said losing in the finale against Glacier Peak was a tough pill to swallow.
“You just don’t want to see it end. You are with these guys every single day. Now that the season is over, you don’t get to spend two to three hours per day with them. Having to say goodbye to those guys is with a heavy heart. Also, at the same time, this group has laid the foundation for us in building our program for the future. We are extremely grateful for what they’ve done for our program,” Valentine said.