Basketball teams' two trophies a first for Renton High School

For the first time in school history, the Renton High School boys and girls basketball teams each brought home trophies from the state basketball tournament in Yakima.

After first-round wins from both teams, the Indians struggled in the second round, but the girls team eventually won third place while the boys brought home a fifth-place finish.

“Combined, this is the best year we’ve ever had,” said Renton High School Athletic Director Wendell Ellis.

The state tournament weekend started out great for both squads, with the boys besting Sequim 59-56 in an overtime thriller, winning on a last-second shot from Zach Lee, and the girls beating Wapato 38-34 in the opener.

But the tournament’s second day did not go as well for either Indian team.

The girls faced off against W.F. West of Chehalis in their second game, and the Bearcats went out fast, taking a 25-12 lead into halftime and hanging on to beat the Indians 44-25.

Renton came back on Saturday, however, winning the consolation game 34-33 on a last-second layup from Seamount League Player of the Year Taylor Farris to secure third place in the tournament.

The girls finished the year 22-5.

The boys team was not as lucky, however.

On Friday, the boys dropped their semi-final game to the eventual champions from Pullman 51-41, landing them in the consolation game for third place.

Renton faced Lynden on Saturday, but last year’s champs proved too much for them, with the Lions coming out on top 64-41.

“Overall, I thought we did a pretty good job,” Coach Rick Comer said of his team’s play. “To be the fifth-best team (in the state) is quite a season.”

Comer cited the buzzer-beater win in the opening round as one of the highlights of the season, but said the style of play in the next two games was different from the up-tempo game the Indians like to play.

Comer also said Lynden was the “biggest team” they faced all year and the Lions ran Renton up and down the court.

The state tournament birth and fifth-place trophy capped a tremendous turn-around from last season. The Indians finished the 2011-2012 season with a 10-14 record but with seven seniors back on the team and an influx of top-shelf underclassmen, Renton stayed undefeated until the final regular season game of this year and finished with an impressive 24-4 record.

“It was all hard work,” said Comer, who was named Seamount Coach of the Year this season.

Comer said though he loses seven players to graduation, he has a strong core of three sophomores and a pair of JV players who were brought up for the state tournament that he expects to help lead the team next season.

Both Comer and Ellis also cited numerous compliments from other coaches and staffs on the behavior and politeness of the two Renton squads, which each said was even more important than the trophies.

“They went over to Yakima and represented the school and the Renton area in an outstanding manor,” Ellis said.

“I’m very proud of each and every one of them,” Comer agreed.

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