Lindbergh boys hoops sets season high in win over Clover Park

Eagles soar under first year head coach Abraham Garcia.

Lindbergh basketball has its second head coach in the last two seasons, but players have seen this familiar face at the helm of the Eagles boys team.

Abraham Garcia has been an assistant coach for the past seven seasons. But after former Head Coach Tyreese Breshers stepped away from the team for a new job opportunity Garcia stepped in and took over the program.

After dropping four out of the first five games of the season, Lindbergh won its second game in a row 74-40 over Clover Park High School at home Dec. 18. “I like how that first unit came out filled the spots and played as a team. When we play team basketball, we win games,” junior point guard John Choul said.

The Eagles now sit at 3-4, the same record as the season prior. This year’s team has youth on its side with just two seniors on the roster, Dylan Villez, and Marquise Jones-Tutwiler.

Lindbergh has played a tough schedule so far this season with the likes of Mt. Tahoma, Liberty and cross-town rival Renton. “It was a tough schedule… Being able to see where we were at against better teams and what we were capable of it flipped the switch,” Garcia said.

Lindbergh was clearly the better side in this one leaping out to a 19-point lead at the end of the first quarter. Oliver Talmadge and Duly Gilbert led the way with six points each in the first helping Lindbergh lead 24-5 over Clover Park. “We changed our play style. We realized that when we push the ball a lot we play a lot better. It’s about playing to our strengths,” Choul said.

In Garcia’s eyes, the team is at that point in the season where guys are getting comfortable around each other and starting to climb the peak to their highest level. “The chemistry the team has built (has helped). Guys are just excited to be a part of the program and more bought in to what we have going on. When guys are excited and they are confident you play good basketball,” Garcia said.

The second quarter was the story of the bench and the depth of this Eagle side. Christian Serrano, Suheyb Hassan, and James Huff IV all had four points apiece in the quarter. “I think this team is special. We’re young and guys are excited and have been working in the offseason… Guys are just as ready on the bench as the starters are. As a coaching staff we emphasize going deep into our bench because we have a lot of weapons,” Garcia said.

Eagle Junior John Choul might not blow you away with his stats in a blow-out game like this. But his leadership and work ethic helped the Eagles stay afloat in what has been a difficult start to the year. “As a leader I try to keep the team intact and make sure they have the right mind sent. I know coaches yell at them a lot so I just want to let them know that even if coach is yelling at them, I’m going to break it down and help them out,” Choul said.

Garcia can’t say enough good things about the quality of player Choul is for this Eagles team. “He’s just a lot more confident in who he is as a person, so his leadership has excelled. Guys listen to him. He always demonstrates what he expects from everybody else. He’s the hardest worker, shows up early communicates and does the things that a coach loves. On the court he’s just an extension of us.”

“He’s one of the best leaders I have ever coached or been around,” Garcia added.

Talmadge led the way for the Eagles with 17 points on five three pointers, Villez was the leading scorer in the second half with nine points and finished with 15. “When we push the tempo and get our shooters open. Oliver had a great game tonight; we tell them to shoot a lot. When they do that, we get going,” Choul said.

The defense was something special tonight holding Clover Park to just 40 and 11 at halftime.

It was a season high offensively for the Eagles in the win dating back to last Dec. 14 in a win over Orting at home.

The Eagles are traveling to Portland, OR to play Auburn Mountainview at the Moda Center, home of the Portland Trailblazers. An opportunity to not only play inside and NBA area but against a state tournament Lions team.

“I’m not going to lie it is going to be a great experience, but I would love to get a win,” Choul said.

“When I heard about it I thought ‘Man this is a once in a lifetime opportunity’… Being able to play there just opens up their imagination,” Garcia said.

The Eagles haven’t scored over the 74-point total since their 2019 state tournament run, placing fourth. Garcia has state as a goal for this side, but knows it is a long way down the road.

Playing a difficult schedule is par for that course, “Were excited to see where we line up against the best. We don’t always want to go against cakewalks, we want to go up against teams that push us to our limits that we learn from. Auburn Mountainview is one of those games that we play a team that is the real deal, and we get to see where we’re at. That preps us for the long run,” Garcia said.

Duly Gilbert drives to the hoop against Clover Park. Ben Ray / The Reporter

Duly Gilbert drives to the hoop against Clover Park. Ben Ray / The Reporter

Dylan Villez holds the finish on a three pointer. Ben Ray / The Reporter

Dylan Villez holds the finish on a three pointer. Ben Ray / The Reporter

John Choul takes the ball up the floor for the Eagles. Ben Ray / The Reporter

John Choul takes the ball up the floor for the Eagles. Ben Ray / The Reporter