Renton basketball coach Rick Comer watched as the final seconds of the 2013 season ticked away and then ended. After shaking the hand of each Lynden player and coach, he placed his hand on senior Lavelle Smith's shoulder as they walked to the locker room with a fifth place finish in the 2A basketball championships.
“We needed to play harder and better than we did,” Comer said after the game. “We are a good team.”
With the game out of reach, Comer looked to the future of Renton basketball by giving the state experience to the underclassmen who will carry the program forward. And the future includes Comer for at least two more years until his son, Ben, graduates from the high school.
Ben plays junior varsity and it has been his dream to play under his dad since he was a little kid.
Next year Comer should pick up win No. 400.
“It’s a number; it’s good for Renton,” Comer said. Renton would become the first school in state history to have two coaches win 400-plus games in their career. The other coach, Irvin Leifer, in 30 seasons won 481 games at Renton High.
The only thing missing for Comer is a state title--a title his players wanted for him, just as much as he wanted.
“I will be always around Renton basketball whether I am in the stands or on the bench,” said Comer.
Renton has seven seniors who were the driving force behind the Indians’ success: league MVP Jonathan Patterson, Lavelle Smith, Zack Lee, Justin Pienh, Donavon Saario, James Weathington and Jonah Magat.
“I am proud of our guys. The seniors are an outstanding group of young men, who motivated themselves to playing and working hard,” said Comer. “These seniors set the pace; they set the bar for the other guys on how to get here. The way has been paved. We expect to be back here.”
“It may take our guys a few years to appreciate, fifth place trophy. We are one of six teams who placed," said Comer.
BY THE NUMBERS
Lavelle Smith scored a total of 36 points in three games (sixth best among 2A schools).
Donavon Saario led all 3-point shooters with 80 percent, going 4 for 5.
As a team, the Indians led the tournament with most field goals attempted, 51 against Sequim, and had the most offensive rebounds, 29, also against Sequim.
Renton shot 28.6 percent with field goals and 3-pointers, 121 rebounds, 12 assists, 22 steals and 115 defensive stops.
Totals for the tournament:
Junior Aaron Johnson scored 6 points (2FGs and 2FTs).
Senior James Weathington scored 1 point on a free throw.
Senior Jonah Magat scored 2 points on one field goal.
Junior Shykiel Milord scored 14 points (6FGs and 2FTs)
Senior Donavon Saario scored 18 points (3FGs and 4-3s).
Senior Justin Pienh scored 14 points (1FG and 4-3s).
Junior Jordan Holland scored 13 points (5FGs and 3FTs).
Senior Zack Lee scored 22 points, including the game-winner in overtime against Sequim (4FGs, 4-3s and 2FTs).
Senior Lavelle Smith scored 35 points (12FGs, 2-3s, 6FTs).
Senior Jonathan Patterson scored 15 points (4FGs and 7FTs).