Hazen boys basketball team reaches state tournament
March 4, 2011
By Tim Pfarr
Despite a midseason coaching change, the Hazen boys basketball team found great success in the 2010-2011 season, fighting through a district tournament to achieve its first state playoff berth since 2002.
Swimmer Chase Onstot and diver Brandon Alexander earned a trip to the state swimming and diving championships in Federal Way Feb. 19, and five Highlanders earned a trip to the state wrestling tournament in the Tacoma Dome Feb. 18.
The Hazen High School boys basketball team suffered a heartbreaking 1-point loss in the second game of the state tournament to end its season.
The berth in the tournament followed district tournament wins over Kelso, Bremerton, Camas and Kennedy high schools. Had Hazen lost one of those games, its season would have been over.
The team started the state tournament with a 67-60 victory over Mountlake Terrace High School, senior power forward and center Brandt Graybeal led the team with 22 points in the victory, followed by senior point guard De’corius Sampson, who racked up 17 points of his own. Junior point guard Frankie Johnson also had 11 points.
In the second game of the state tournament, Hazen fell to Glacier Peak High School, 50-49.
The Highlanders were up by 1 point with 15 seconds left, but Glacier Peak picked up a loose ball. Hazen fouled, and Glacier Peak hit both free throws. When Hazen got the ball back, it was unable to score.
Senior shooting guards Michael Dampier and R.J. Magar led the Highlanders in the game with 13 points and 10 points, respectively. Junior center Dawit Kasa and Sampson each had 9 points.
Regardless, head coach Gary Schaplow said the team made a good run.
“I’m really proud of the kids, the way they played down the stretch,” he said. “They bought in and came together and played some pretty good defense.”
Of the nine postseason games Hazen played, three went into overtime.
“I was so impressed with their competitive spirit. I told them that all year,” Schaplow said. “They will just fight and fight and fight until the horn blows.”
The team finished the season with a 21-7 overall record, and a 13-1 record in Seamount League play. Magar led the team in scoring in the year with 355 points and an average of 14.2 points per game. Kasa, Sampson and Graybeal also finished the season with more than 250 points each, averaging 11.8, 11 and 10.7 points per game, respectively.
Schaplow took over as head coach Dec. 13 after the school fired former coach James Olive. Schaplow had coached the Highlanders for two seasons in the early 2000s and served as the school’s athletic director from 2004-2009.
He said he is not sure whether he will coach the team again next year.
The Hazen girls basketball team finished the season with an 11-8 overall record and a 8-6 record in Seamount League play. The Highlanders advanced to a seeding match against Enumclaw High School Feb. 11 to battle for a spot in the district tournament, but they lost 52-44.
The loss marked an unfortunate end to a season that started strong.
“On paper, we should have beaten Enumclaw,” girls basketball head coach Jeff Bernhardt said. “It came down to a couple possessions here and there, and they made the most of them.”
Junior guard Airashay Rogers led the league in scoring during the season with an astounding 448 points and an average of 26.4 points per game. Rogers also racked up 42 assists during the season, as well as 35 blocks, 112 steals and 160 rebounds.
Senior guard Michelle Wnek was second on the team in scoring with 220 points, averaging 12.2 points per game. Wnek also had 34 assists and a league-leading 132 steals.
“They were, no question, the leaders of our team,” Bernhardt said.
With Rogers returning for her senior season next year, Hazen is sure to be a threat in 2012.
Sophomore Onstot and junior Alexander advanced to the state swimming championship meet Feb. 19 at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way.
Onstot took 10th in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 4 minutes, 51.78 seconds. He also took 11th in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:46.87.
Alexander took 16th in state in diving, racking up a final score of 252.7 in the championship round.
Hazen wrestlers Josh Kluth, Derek Coburn, Austin Clark, Daniel Karpman and Kyle Ely advanced to the Mat Classic in the Tacoma Dome.
Ely — a senior in the 189-pound weight class — lost his first match 15-7 to Camoron Babcock, from Shadle Park High School in Spokane, and advanced to the consolation bracket, where he pinned Jake Ferris, from Wilson High School in Tacoma, in 4:33.
However, he dropped his next match against Colton Malek, from Enumclaw High School, 4-0, ending his championship run.
Kluth, Coburn, Clark, Karpman and Ely each lost their first two matches and were eliminated from the tournament.