This season’s Friday Harbor High School boys basketball team has only two seniors, and a lot of new members. With all these fresh faces, one of the goals coach Rod Turnbull said will be integrating new members.
“These boys have good chemistry off the court and get along well, so we are trying to carry that over onto the court,” he explained.
Turnbull has been coaching the boys team for approximately 17 years. His father was also the basketball coach, so Turnbull was raised with a passion for the game. Basketball is an exciting game to watch and play, he said with a smile.
Although the team lost six graduating seniors from last season, they gained six new members.
“I look forward to watching us grow as a team. With six new members, it will take some time and work, but that is what makes this challenging and fun to watch,” said Turnbull.
Returning this year are seniors Isaac Mayer and Rio Black, as well as four juniors, Marshall Clark, Chase Wilson, Kyle Mapstead, and Lucas Chevalier, all solid players he said.
Turnbull is particularly interested in what the five sophomores – Ethan Germain, Jaden Jones, Kenny Hallock, Gavin Mason, and Ty Anderson are able to achieve and believes their growth throughout the year will be an indicator of how successful the team is.
This year, Turnbull’s goals, besides bringing the new players into the fold, include working on being consistent and mentally strong.
“I’m teaching them we aren’t going to do something in a game we have not already worked hard on at practice,” Turnbull said.
La Conner and Orcas are the teams to beat for the league games. Because there are only about 5 B/2 bracket teams, the Wolverines are scheduled to play teams from bigger schools to round out the season and ensure each team has played enough games. Those non-league games, Turnbull said will be tough because they are larger schools with more students and resources to draw from.
The Wolverines played their first home game against of their most challenging non-league rivals, Lynden Christian, a 1A league team on Nov. 28. They are a worrisome rival for Turnbull.
“They are always a strong program,” Turnbull said, “and the returning seven players form a team that contended for the 1A state title last year.”
The Wolverines lost 83-31 to Lynden Christian, giving the Wolverines a tough, but motivating start to the season.
Their next home game will be Friday, Dec. 1 at 7:15 p.m. followed by the Friday Harbor “Tip-off Classic” tournament on Saturday, Dec. 2.
“It’s good, though, healthy to have that kind of competition and experience,” he said.
As part of those non-league games, the boys will be going to Juneau, Alaska on Dec. 26 through the 30. Turnbull said exposing the boys to new places and people will be a huge life experience. It will be a trip, he said, that will mean more than shooting hoops.
The season should be an exciting one especially for the first time players, who Turnbull said he believes show promise.
“This is a young team,” Turnbull said. “But, they have played a lot.”
The next home games are Dec. 6 at 6 p.m. against Sultan, and Dec. 19 at 4:30 p.m. against Mount Vernon Christian.
Tate Thomson contributed to this article.