Coach Joe Harris and assistant coaches Dave Spanjer and Brian Mayer all congratulate for a game well played as he exits the Nooksack game.
Chelan Goats take home fifth place trophy
and a lot of well deserved pride
by Richard Uhlhorn Oct 10, 1904
The WIAAState 1A Tournament brings together the 16 best teams in the state to play for the title of State Champion.
This past week (March 3 – 6) the Chelan Goats were amongst the finest teams vying for that distinction. Unfortunately, they entered the tournament in the toughest bracket and faced Vashon Island on their first night of basketball.
Vashon which had been ranked the number one team in the state for the first half of their season was displaced by Chelan who held that distinction right up to the tournament. Vashon lost several games during their district and came in to the tournament as the fifth place team from their area and that is who Chelan drew for the first game.
Everyone speculated that this game would be the game of the tournament and the stands were crowded on both sides of the court anxious to watch these two teams do battle.
Vashon Island used the first quarter of play to build a 27-10 lead over the Goats, which they never truly recovered from. Chelan was, at one point, able to close the gap to within four points with 3:48 remaining in the game, but Vashon blew the sails out of that opportunity and Matt Kerns hit his only three point shot shortly after that to take Vashon back out to a seven point lead. The Pirates hit one more field goal and the game ended with Chelan on the losing side 45-36.
It was a game that many felt was taken over by the referees and even Coach Harris, who never complains about refs, felt it was badly officiated. Joey Harris fouled out with remaining in the game and both Matt Engstrom and Aaron McQuaid were in deep foul trouble early.
“There were a lot of down faces in the locker room after that game,” said Coach Harris. “I told them to not worry about the officiating and to go out and play their best ball.”
The loss to Vashon put Chelan into a loser out situation against the Mabton Vikings, who were not up to the task of holding back the Chelan Goats
Matt Engstrom came out shooting in this game and ended up with a huge game, shooting 18 points, pulling down 10 rebounds, dishing out four assists, and stealing the ball three times.
Mabton stayed close in the first half of play based on 3/8 three point shots, but in the third, Chelan broke out and outscored the Vikings 16-7. Harris picked up his third personal foul on a dubious charging call in the second quarter which put him back on the bench for some minutes.
In the third, Harris fouled out, but the team continued to run on all five cylinders and Engstrom scored another quick four points proving that the Goats are deep and well coached. Other great efforts came from Aaron McQuaid, who ended the game with a game high 19 points, 6 rebounds, 5 blocked shots and four steals. Adding to the win was Michael Amsel Jr. who had 17 points and 8 assists.
With Mabton out of the way, Chelan faced LakeRoosevelt for the fouth time this season and it was another big rout over the scrappy Raider team 63-39. Matt Engstrom had another big game scoring a game high 16 points and 12 rebounds to add to his total stat sheet, followed by Harris and McQuaid who both had 14 points. Harris pulled down 8 rebounds and McQuaid 7 rebounds. Amsel Jr. had 6 steals, 6 rebounds and no points against the Raiders.
“I guess I just don’t want to go home,” Engstrom said after the game.
The win put Chelan in to the running for the fifth place trophy (lose your first game and fifth is as good as you can do at this tournament).
The Nooksack Valley Pioneers and Chelan met up for the early game at The stands were still full of Chelan fans cheering on the Goats. Nooksack entered into this tournament with a 16-12 season record, but Dennis Rahm, at the tournament for his radio group in Bellingham said that was not a telling statistic to the teams ability because they play up to 2A and 3A teams throughout the season.
Initially, it looked as though this game was going to be a Chelan rout when the ended the first quarter of play up 20-6, but Nooksack adjusted in the second quarter of play and worked its way back into the game with a 21-10 scoring run on Chelan to erase its 14 point deficit to only 3 points.
Joe Harris pumped in 15 points in the first half of play and only needed 11 of those points to break the all-time Ryan Hansen 1A scoring record. Harris ended up with a career 2398 points to break the record by 16.
In the third quarter, both teams were able to keep the game exciting. Nooksack took its first lead in the third quarter with to play, but Aaron McQuaid tied it up with a free throw at 35-35.
With only seconds remaining, and Chelan ahead by two, the Pioneers tied it up at 60 on a Michael Amsel foul. “I really felt bad for the team,” he said later. “But I shook it off because Coach Harris told us to not worry about the officiating.” Amsel got his redemption with only 4.4 seconds remaining in the game when he was fouled going to the basket for a lay-up. He stepped to the line and made both free throws to win the game.
Chelan out shot Nooksack at the free throw line 19-15 and their coach said after the game, “We should have hit a few more of our free throws.”
When the team and coaches came out of the locker room, Assistant Coach Frank Phelps said, “Now that was a lot of fun.” Joey Harris agreed. Coach Harris said, “We were tired in that second half and we played into their hands, but I am so proud of our kids. They never gave in.”
Later in an audio interview with Dennis Rahm in the media center, Harris said the team had hoped to get to Saturday night, but they all gave great minutes on the court. “The challenged themselves all season, so there was a lot of disappointment in the locker room after that first game,” Harris told Rahm. “I told them to step up and gut it out.”
Harris said he was very pleased with the way Matt Engstrom played in this tournament and was proud of how far Aaron McQuaid came this season. “They came back and won three in a row and that shows what they are made of.”
Harris also lauded the fan support. “We had a tremendous turnout,” he said. With regards to coaching his son, Harris said it was difficult at times. “I will never have someone like that again. Joey has more pride in getting the ball to a teammate than scoring,” he added. “For him to set that record is really special.”
Joey Harris is heading to Virgina in the Fall. Matt Engstrom is still weighing options, but should get some decent offers to play some college ball.
Coach Harris has plenty of ammunition for next year’s season with Aaron McQuaid, Evan Reister (who played some excellent basketball during the tournament), Bronson Louie, Michael Amsel Jr., and Robin Weathersby and a number of Junior Varsity players who will enter the varsity program next year.
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