The next high school basketball season might be six months away, but the Issaquah boys team already has pick and rolls, screens and zone defense on the mind.
For the second consecutive year, the Eagles are participating in the Best of the Best Summer League — a competitive league that features 12 area teams, including defending class 3A state champion Rainier Beach.
“This is about making ourselves better, and this is the time of year to do it,” said new Issaquah head coach Jeff Altchech.
Altchech is replacing Jeff Patrick, who stepped down for personal reasons after nine years at the helm. As an assistant under Patrick for six years, Altchech was part of Issaquah’s first Best of the Best team last season. He knows how beneficial the league can be.
“You’ve got Franklin, Garfield, Rainier Beach … all the marquee programs,” he said. “You want to play the best competition because you’re just going to get better.”
In fact, Issaquah showed that it could compete with all those programs last season as the Eagles beat Lakes, Mt. Rainier and Rainier Beach in one day to win the tournament title.
“It’s a good way to benchmark where you are,” Altchech said.
So far this season, the Eagles are 3-1 with wins over Highline, Interlake and Evergreen, with the only loss coming to Blanchet.
The Best of the Best Summer League continues through June, with games taking place on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Franklin High School. The season will wrap up with playoffs June 24-26.
Issaquah 74, Evergreen 69
Behind a strong inside presence of 6-foot-2 center Sean Stuby, Issaquah powered its way to a 74-69 victory over Evergreen on Tuesday.
The junior scored 19 points and grabbed several key rebounds down the stretch. He was also 7-for-9 from the free throw line.
Tied, 68-68, with just over a minute to go, the Eagles took the lead for good on a rebound and put back from Stuby. Joe Evans tacked on a free throw and layup with three seconds to go to put the game out of reach.
Max Kolden added 15 points, while Evans and Ross Zuhl contributed nine each.
Issaquah hit 21 of 55 (38 percent) of its shots overcome 18 turnovers.
The Eagles played Franklin last night and play their next game at 6:50 p.m. on Tuesday, June 17 against Renton.
Reporter Kevin Endejan can be reached at 425-391-0363 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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