With a few pressing questions coming into this season, Wilson coach Dave Alwert has seen many positives to this point in the non-league portion of the schedule. With the emergence of freshmen Ivy Smith and Julius Yates-Brown, and the return to full health of post man Jaiden Martin, the future looks bright for Rams basketball in the ultra-tough Narrows 3A.
But every once in a while you’ll find the small bump in the road with youth, and Dec. 30 at Kennedy High School was no exception as perennial 2A contender Squalicum of Bellingham defeated the Rams by a score of 54-41 to win the 2011 Les Schwab Christmas Tournament. Wilson finished their non-league schedule at 8-2 and will prepare to meet the Capital Cougars at home on Jan. 6 in their league opener.
“Lack of fundamentals really hurt us tonight, and we could not overcome our tired legs against a really good Squalicum team,” said Alwert of his team’s second-place finish at the very competitive tournament.
Both teams had trouble finding any kind of rhythm early with the first quarter ending with Wilson holding a 6-5 lead. Kevin Johnson showed signs of coming out of his early season shooting slump as he came out of the locker room early in the third quarter hitting his first four shots of the half, including three from behind the arc.
Squalicum began to take control of the game midway through the quarter and would hold off every attempt by the Rams to cut into the lead. Johnson led Wilson with 19 points as the young Rams struggled against the more experienced Storm on the offensive end.
“I’m happy with the 8-2 start,” said Alwert, who will begin to get his team ready for the rigors of Narrows League basketball. “We showed some character in defeat tonight and we’ll have to carry it with us all the way through the season if we hope to go far this year.”