Mead girls basketball coach Regan Drew learned that you must play with the hand you’re dealt when she was a player at Stanford.
Drew said she never wonders “what if” when asked if, in hindsight, she thinks about how good the Panthers could have been this year. That may be why the Panthers haven’t missed a beat in the Greater Spokane League.
They are tied for second place with a 9-2 record despite the fact that four players integral to the 2008 season – three of them on the state fourth-placing team of 2007 – opted to not return for a variety of reasons, among them health, a player’s move for family reasons and another’s desire to focus on another sport.
“Stanford was No. 1 going into my junior year,” Drew said. “In a matter of two weeks two starters blew their ACLs.
“Those things happen. It’s sports and you don’t dwell on it.”
Instead, she said, the biggest thing is to focus on who you do have and not dwell on things you can’t control.
Four players return, led by third-year players Jazmine Redmon and Tifa Puletasi. Sophomore Taylor Ingebritsen and senior Alisa Beard are the others, joined by seven newcomers.
“They are learning, want to improve and are helping us,” Drew said. “I’m having fun coaching, love working with kids and don’t think about the other stuff.”
And Mead is succeeding. The Panthers are among three teams chasing unbeaten Lewis and Clark and is in position to pick up two more wins this week.
Mead plays at Rogers (0-11) tonight, and hosts North Central (1-10) on Friday.
Youth is served
Youth is being served at University, where the young wrestling team is attracting comparisons to the Titans’ 2005 state titlists.
There were nine sophomores in the lineup, five of them victors, during last week’s win over Mead to be the only remaining undefeated team in the Greater Spokane League.
U-Hi won its own Pacific Northwest Classic with five sophomores reaching the finals and has been third in two other tournaments, including last weekend’s Rocky Mountain Classic in Missoula, where a couple sophomores placed.
“I look back at my class that won state and when they were sophomores they are very similar,” coach Don Owen said last week. “But I think this class is deeper. There are more kids and they’re stair-stepped right up the list – not at the same weight, which is really nice. They’ve performed well and are hard-nosed.”
But the Titans aren’t the only team with precocious youngsters. During the Rocky Mountain, fourth-place Central Valley had a freshman, Logan Ames, finish second, and sophomores Jarod Maynes and Braden Davis were third and fourth, respectively. Mead freshmen Jeremy Golding and Jordan Rogers both placed fourth as well.
U-Hi’s Ryan Zumwalt, a junior, won the 145-pound title and 14 wrestlers from the GSL and Clarkston finished among the top four. U-Hi and CV each placed six among the top six.
Rumblin’ in Orem
Deer Park may not have finished as high as coach Matt Jorgensen had hoped, but a fourth-place finish in the 64-school Rocky Mountain Rumble was nothing to sneeze at. Deer Park scored 190 points, just 21 out of second place behind Delta, Utah’s runaway 302.
“We weren’t going to take first place, no matter what,” Jorgensen said. “Delta was unbelievable. But I thought we could have finished two or three.”
The Stags placed eight wrestlers among the top 12 in brackets that are four times the size of those at the state tournament. Three others won three matches and the coach’s son, Ryan Jorgensen, returned to action following fall knee surgery after a football injury and won a couple matches in a “last chance” tournament.
“I was hoping he wouldn’t wrestle, but after a big sit down with dad talk he’s going to give it a whirl,” Matt Jorgensen said. “It will take a few years off my life.”
Ryan has had surgeries to the anterior cruciate ligaments in both knees during his high school career. In between he finished third in state during Deer Park’s 2008 state title run.
Ethan Grable is also back from knee surgery and placed third at 215 pounds after losing 1-0 in the semifinals in last week’s tournament. The highest placer, Cody Miller, took second for the second year at 152. Shawn Burton (275) and Blake Adams (112) were fourth and Brandon Leliefeld (145) was fifth.
“There was great competition in a tournament of that size,” Matt Jorgensen said. “It was a long two days.”
Lakeside finished 11th with 129 points. Unbeaten Jacob Lauderdale won at 125 pounds, pinning his first four opponents, winning 9-3 in the semis and 16-3 for the title. His brother, Josh (130), took sixth, and Bryan Baumgarden (119) was seventh.
In the mixed-up world of GSL boys basketball, seven teams have records between 7-4 (North Central) and 5-7 (Lewis and Clark). Tonight, the Tigers are at the Indians in a game that could bring things even closer. Also, Mead (5-6) is at Rogers (5-6) in a positional game.
The Clarkston factor
Clarkston’s basketball victories by two and five points last week over visiting West Valley altered the nature of the Great Northern League. The Bantams boys (5-4, 4-0) and girls (7-3, 4-0) share the league leads with Pullman (7-3, 4-0 and 8-2, 4-0, respectively), with the Eagles teams a game behind.
Freeman boys and girls basketball teams have made an auspicious beginning under new coaches Bill Bland and Ashlee Taylor.
The Scotties are a combined 24-1, including identical 3-0 records in the Northeast A League.
They’ve won against 2A Great Northern League teams, teams in Idaho and turned back NEA challenger Lakeside last week, the boys 44-27 and the unbeaten girls 46-42 with a fourth-quarter rally.