If Aberdeen’s boys were looking for tough competition, they found it in their season basketball opener.
Class 4A Spanaway Lake feasted on Bobcat turnovers for a 75-48 rout in a non-league contest Monday at Sam Benn Gym.
Aberdeen coach Leonard Barnes said he had sought a rugged non-league schedule to prepare his club for the rigors of the highly competitive Evergreen 2A Conference. The Cats are unlikely to face many foes more formidable than the Sentinels from suburban Tacoma.
Spanaway Lake simply was too tall, quick and athletic for the Bobcats in this one. Four Sentinels scored in double figures, led by Myles Springer with 14 points. Braxton Tucker, a 6-foot-6 leaper reportedly being recruited by Division I colleges, added 13 points and a slew of rebounds.
Junior wing Aaron Taylor put down three 3-point baskets in the second half to top Aberdeen with 12 points. Senior point guard Charlie Dietrich tallied 10.
Had Barnes set a pre-game maximum on turnovers, it is probable that his team exceeded it by the midpoint of the first half. The Bobcats committed 17 of their 29 miscues in the first two quarters, the majority coming on muffed passes or balls the Sentinels poked loose on the dribble. Spanaway Lake converted at least of half of those into transition baskets or free throws at the other end.
“We had a lot of jitters,” Barnes said. “We had a lot of balls go through our hands. It was like we had Vaseline on our hands.”
The varsity contest, in truth, proved to be something of an anti-climax after an exciting junior varsity prelim eventually won by Spanaway Lake in overtime.
Aberdeen’s Collin Nord scored the varsity game’s opening basket, but the Cats mustered only a Dietrich three-ball for the remainder of the first quarter as the visitors raced to a 19-5 lead.
The Bobcats briefly cut the margin to single digits, at 21-12, when Veek Cheema buried a trey from the left wing about 2 1/2 minutes into the second quarter.
Spanaway’s Tucker, Treyvon Brown, Kwame Awadjie and Springer combined to score the next 17 points and a 38-12 bulge. It was 39-16 at the half and and the Cats never came closer than 21 the rest of the way.
Barnes, however, noted his club’s improved shooting and ball-handling in the second half.
“I’m disappointed, but the reality is we’ll get better,” the AHS coach said. “I thought we fought hard in the second half.”
The Bobcats will play rival Hoquiam in a home-and-home series on the next two Fridays. This week’s contest is scheduled for Sam Benn Gym.
SL 19 20 24 12 — 75
ABER 5 11 15 17 — 48
Spanaway Lake (75) — Tucker 13, Martin 4, Brown 9, Springer 14, Awadjie 11, Smith 6, Pickering 4, Hood 2, Jenkins 12, Summerfield. FG — 28-65 (.431). FT — 13-23.
Aberdeen (48) —Dietrich 10, Cheema 9, Ball 8, Taylor 12, Nord 8, Williamson, Fairchild, Schlesser, Levao 1. FG — 17-54 (.315). FT — 7-16.
JV — Spanaway Lake 57, Aberdeen 55, OT. Cole Edwards 20 points, Jacob Black 15 for Aberdeen.
C Squad — Spanaway Lake 45, Aberdeen 36. Jashan Jandu 16 points for Aberdeen.