Frank Workman on Sports: Underdog Shorecrest boys on the brink of a championship

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Frank Workman
calling a game
By Frank Workman

You might think a team that has won ten straight games would be considered the favorite going into Friday night’s District One 3A Championship Game at 8pm at Jackson HS.

But instead the scrappy Shorecrest boys (16-6) go into the game a decided underdog against an undefeated (23-0) Stanwood team that is ranked #2 in the State.

After a dreadful 0-5 start to league play (including a 68-51 drubbing at Stanwood on January 10, the last time SC tasted defeat) the senior-laden Scots squad has rallied behind the masterful leadership of Head Coach Brian Fischer to assure themselves of a game the following week, with a chance to go to the State Tournament in Tacoma in two weeks at stake.

Coach Fischer attributes the team’s success to a great work ethic; a workman-like attitude of never getting too high after a win (as well as never getting too low when the losses stacked up in the early part of the season); a conscious recognition of the fact that there is always more work to be done and improvement to be had; and a genuine love and affection the boys have for each other.

The core of the team has been together since grade school, playing for the SC feeder team at the Select level.

Here’s a photo of the 8th grade team the boys played for, with all eight seniors on the present team among the eleven players shown.

8th grade team has all the current SC senior players

Conin Oishi (#21 in the photo) leads a cadre of six guards that play the sort of agitating, irritating and frustrating defense that makes them an opponent’s nightmare. He is joined in the backcourt by Daniel Gebremichael (#1), Connor Hyppa (#10), Zach Lawson (#8), and Benny Ortega (back row/far right, with the Super Fly hairdo), as well as sharp-shooting sophomore Drew Magaoay. Fischer rotates the guards in and out, keeping them fresh so they can all be at their ball-hawking best. While any one of them is capable of having a hot hand on any given night, every one of them is looking to pass to an open teammate as often as he is to take the shot himself.

Masamba Njadoe (back row, fourth from the left) anchors the middle, leading the team in scoring (12.9 ppg), blocked shots, and rebounds. He is joined in the starting lineup by Alex Hofstrand (back row, second from the left). It was Hofstrand’s three-pointer with :06 to play against Shorewood in Hoopapalooza V that was the winning margin in their 50-49 win January 25. Aaron Kelly (barely visible, back/left) is the most athletic player on the team. He is the first of the ‘bigs’ to come off the bench.

Defense, balanced scoring, and unselfishness have gotten the Scots to where they are – on the brink of winning a District Championship – a Championship that not too many people think they can win.

Except for the boys on the team.

~~~
Correction: Conner Hyppa is in jersey #10 - his number this year is #5


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