Boys select basketball squads headed to state tournament

Five Mercer Island teams are set for Spokane event.

Big-time hoops action is on the docket for a host of local basketball players.

Five Mercer Island Select Boys Basketball squads will hit the courts at several Spokane venues March 18-20 at the 2022 Washington Middle School Basketball Championship.

They join four local girls team at state, which featured the girls squads in Spokane on March 11-13.

On the boys side, Mercer Island teams in grades 4-8 qualified for the immense event.

“More than 500 (boys and girls) teams are expected again this season, where (they will) all experience an exciting season-ending getaway focused on family fun,” reads the event web site.

The Reporter asked the five boys coaches what their teams’ keys to success were this season in competing in league play and qualifying for state.

“We have thrived this season off of incredible team chemistry and effort on the defensive side of the floor. On the offensive end, we play fast and we play team basketball and move the ball to find the best shot,” said fourth-grade Coach Tony Locascio.

Fifth-grade Coach Mason Azose noted: “For my team, I would say our attitude was our biggest strength. My fifth-graders showed a curiosity for improvement and an unselfish drive to make the team successful.”

On the sixth-grade front, Coach Benson Sims said his team has displayed resiliency throughout the season.

“We’ve found success tapping into our capacity to recover from the adversities of a different and very challenging season,” he added. “The boys have had a great attitude and have committed to the process of improving through uncontrollable elements. Our key to success at the state tournament will be to maintain the same attitude.”

Coach Yan Fatien noted that his seventh-grade squad “is a group of kids who are playing with a lot of heart, trying to leave everything on the court. They put the team before themself, are unselfish and making the extra pass to try to find a way to win.”

Coach Glen Dean chipped in with this comment about his eighth-grade team: “We thrive on great defense, passing and having a unrelenting attack to the basket with dribble drives. We have a good balance of shooters, slashes and playmakers. If we lock in on defense and take care of the ball, I like our chances.”