Sports

Grace Academy shoots long to beat young Tulalip Heritage team

Jordan Wasko of the Tulalip Heritage Hawks shoots during the third quarter to close the 19 to 31 point gap to the Grace Academy Eagles on Dec. 18. -
Jordan Wasko of the Tulalip Heritage Hawks shoots during the third quarter to close the 19 to 31 point gap to the Grace Academy Eagles on Dec. 18.
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TULALIP Grace Academy split a pair of games with Tulalip Heritage High School Dec. 18, with the Eagle boys prevailing 42-32 over the Heritage Hawks, and the girls losing 45-42.
Outside shooting and accuracy made their mark for the Marysville Christian school from the first minute to the last. Zac Israel found the net early on, hitting a three-pointer to start his 27-point spree. He led all other players by far, with 10 field goals, five of them treys, and a pair of free throws to boot.
Only three players went to the line during a physical game that saw more technical fouls called in the fourth quarter than in the rest of the entire game. That surprised Grace coach Scott Carlin, who said his players quickly learned to deal with the Heritage intensity and were able to stick to the plan.
It was a great game all around. It was a hard played game, a physical game both teams played hard, Carlin said. There wasnt a lot of fouls called. But our guys adapted We played man-to-man the whole game. We never went to the zone. Our man-to-man was holding them so we stuck with it.
He lauded the shooting performance of Israel and the constant rebounding of the Weinberg brothers Garret and Grant, who tallied nine and three points, respectively. Brian Young and Chris McAuliffe contributed three points and two points, respectively to round out the Grace attack. That helped set the tone early on.
Now we still got a little better shooting than we did last couple of games, you know, Carlin added. Ive got some good shooters but we were in a dry spell but they came alive a little bit tonight.
In addition to his rebounding, Garret was also playing good defense, taking a pair of charges on the baseline, Carlin added.
Were small; we dont have a big guy, our biggest guy is about six-one-and-a-half, six-two, and thats it, you know, Carlin said. So weve got to rely on quickness and outside shooting.
For sixth-year Heritage coach Leon Enick it wasnt a drubbing but a learning lesson for his green players. James Mathias led the team with 17 points, and Jordan Wasko was next with seven.
Waskos intense play was fun to watch, and got loud applause from the home crowd at the Tulalip Boys and Girls Club gym, but it earned him four personal fouls and a quick benching by Enick in the fourth quarter.
He can light up, he can score 30 points, Enick said bluntly. But I dont need him to score 30 points. I need him to score 15 to 20 and get the other guys to score, because once they figure out hes the scorer, they just double and triple team him.
His strategy was to mix it up with his young team, and Enick said it worked for a while until Wasko began coloring outside the lines.
When they were doing that, the kids were hitting from the corners. And thats what we were planning until he decided to go back to his game and then he found himself sitting next to me, Enick said, gesturing to the bench.
He noted that Tulalip lost seven players from last years championship roster, with only three returning players from a team with a well-rounded offense known for working with each other, passing the ball and building deep layers and strata of talent. This years vintage has yet to mature, they have still to gel together properly and consistently, and as a coach he said it was his first task to kick the I off of the roster.
Its gotta be my way, it cant be yours because were playing team basketball, he added. Its a hard lesson to learn. You win some, you lose some. Weve been on top of this division for four years now, so were in a transition year, were in a down year and the kids are learning. We are young. We cant be on top all the time and somebody else rises and we just concentrate.
The Eagles are 1-1 in league play, 5-2 overall; Heritage 0-1, 1-3.

Losing with Grace: Eagle girls close the gap
The Grace girls lost their Dec. 18 match up, but found a salve in the close margin of the 45-42 loss. Sarah Wennersten is a 5-7 guard who said her peers turned a rut into a groove by learning to work together.
Our team started to work hard, Wennersten said. Weve really been missing something the last few games. This game we picked up our intensity was the main thing and we ran our plays. We really started to mesh more as a team.
The loss was the sixth straight for the lady Eagles, but the closest so far. They fell to 0-2 in league, 0-6 overall; Heritage is 1-0, 3-1.

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