Last Friday night — opening night of the Falcon Classic — your correspondent watched the Woodinville Select 7th graders battle their Redmond counterparts.
It was one of many games being played over the weekend of November 8-10. The tournament, hosted by Woodinville High School and head coach Mark Folsom, featured 86 teams of various age groups competing, with some squads coming from as far as Bellingham and Tri-Cities.
Proceeds from the Classic funded the Basketball Club of Woodinville’s scholarship program supporting families in the community, as well as providing gym time and equipment for local kids.
As for the game I saw, one of Woodinville’s 7th grade squads fought and clawed against Redmond before losing 30-26.
Redmond’s superior height along their front line likely made the difference.
The Mustangs converted several second opportunities off their own missed shots, and that likely made the key difference.
"We just had our guys focus on being physical with them," Woodinville head coach Nick Lewis said. "(Redmond is) tall and long. I told our guys to be physical with them. The thing that killed us was that we were boxing out well but we weren’t getting the loose guys. They’re boxing out, the ball gets loose and we wouldn’t get it. And it killed us."
For the Falcons, Ken West led the way with 7 points and 14 rebounds.
Cage Schenk and Dylan Lewis added 6 points apiece. And a pair of firebrand point guards, Jared Gee and Wyatt Morris, demonstrated skilled ball handling and tenacious defense. They were a joy to watch compete.
Oddly enough, Gee was often guarded by a player that was over a foot taller than he. "I just tried my hardest," Gee said. "I don’t really care about the height."
"I kind of like playing that team," Morris added. "Because they have some quick little players too. So it’s kind of fun to get to play full court press against them."
As this edition went to press, the final results of the Falcon Classic had yet to be determined. But Lewis sung its praises.
"This tournament is awesome," he said. "Coach Folsom puts on a great tourney here. What we’re trying to do with Woodinville Select in particular is get more focus on Eastside basketball. We have good programs coming up with some good kids. We would like the support of the community to come out and see some of these kids play. These kids are working hard to put Woodinville on the map.
"You watched it today. These kids play some pretty good ball."