By Polly Keary, Editor
Monroe girls’ basketball
The Monroe Bearcat girls’ basketball team had a year to be proud of, said Coach Matt Chalfant.
“We beat both the 3A and 4A District champions (Lynnwood and Everett) on our home floor,” he said. “Lynnwood was probably our biggest win of the season, as they were ranked the fourth team in the state at the time.”
The team also led the division in defense.
“We were ranked the number-one defensive team in the WESCO North, allowing only 35.7 points per game,” said Chalfant. “Out of 11 teams in the WESCO North/South, we were ranked number two, only behind Lynnwood, who allowed 33.8 points per game.”
Those successes came in spite of the fact that the team had new coaching again this year.
“Rebuilding the program was a definite challenge,” said Chalfant. “Many of our girls have had three of four head coaches during their high school career, so to come in and create a brand new culture and expectations is a challenge for anyone. We installed a completely new offensive and defensive philosophy that took some getting used to, but the girls persevered and improved on a daily basis.”
With that rebuilding year behind them, the team has a bright future, he went on.
“I could not be more excited about the direction of the program. We made tremendous gains this season that our program should be proud of. We have a strong returning nucleus that will be exciting to coach,” said Chalfant. “The future is definitely looking bright for the girls’ basketball program.”
Monroe boys’ basketball
The boys also made it to District, coming in third in the division during the regular season with a 6-8 division record.
The team’s season finally ended with a 53-70 consolation-bracket loss to Mount Vernon.
“We could not have been more proud of our season this year,” said team coach Nick Wold. “For the fifth straight year we have over-achieved and finished higher than the pre-season predictions in the papers. We made the district playoffs for the third straight season, which is the first time our school has accomplished this since becoming a 4A school. This is also the second straight year that we have gone to the playoffs after not returning a single starter from the previous season.”
This was all accomplished with a very young team, too, he said.
“This season we were made up of mostly sophomores and juniors, and while facing numerous injuries and setbacks we were able to persevere and win in the playoffs when the early season predictions had us finishing last in the conference.” Wold said. “I would definitely say we have reason to celebrate.”
He added that Monroe’s boys basket team is a program to watch.
“Because of the success we had this season we are aware that we will not be overlooked going into next season and may have a target on our backs” he said. “I believe our players will rise to the occasion and look forward to the challenge.”
Monroe JV basketball
The future looks bright for the boys’ basketball program, said Monroe JV Coach James MacIntyre,
“The Monroe boys’ JV team grew together and continually gave a terrific effort in practice and in games, often ending the day with self-inflicted bruises and scrapes,” said MacIntyre. “The Wesco North is particularly competitive and tough to play in, but the JV team battled, toe to toe, with each and every team. As a young team that is willing to work hard in the off-season, next year holds a large amount of promise for this hard working group.”
Sultan Turks have stellar season
The story of the year in Sultan was the wrestling program, with the Sultan Turks going undefeated all season and winning the Cascade Conference Title.
The team sent five athletes to State this year, including James MacKenzie, Bryce MacDicken, Jason Barrus, Jacob Naslund and Taylor Comfort.
James MacKenzie was an 8th place medalist at State, and the rest of the team made for an all-star lineup. It was Jason Barrus’ third trip to State, his second as a Turk. Jacob Naslund has been to State twice, and has been Sub-Regional and Regional Champion. And Taylor Comfort has also been to State twice, and has been Sub-Regional and Regional Champion, as well.
Even the coach took top honors this year; Garth MacDicken was voted Coach of the Year by the rest of the 2A sub-regional coaches.
But the rest of the teams did well, too.
“The boys and girls basketball teams both earned berths at Districts as the number-three seeds from the Cascade Conference,” said Sports Coordinator Scott Sifferman. “The boys’ team lost its opening-round game to defending State Champions Lynden, then beat Archbishop Murphy in a loser-out game, and ended the season with a loss to Anacortes for the second year in a row.”
The girls, too, had a strong season, and so did their co-coach, Keith Buechler.
“The girls returned to Districts for the first time in three years,” said Sifferman. “While dropping both District games, they played well against both Burlington-Edison and Lynden. In addition, first year Coach Keith Buechler was voted Co-Coach of the Year by the rest of the conference coaches, along with Brad Knowles from Cedarcrest.”
And to top it off, the entire school was also recognized for sportsmanship.
“Sultan High School was selected as the Host School of the Year by the Snohomish County Boys Basketball Officials Association for our efforts promoting sportsmanship and positive spirit at games,” said Sifferman.