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News / Sports / Prep Sports

Much more to Seton Catholic’s Parker than 1,000 points

Cougars off to solid start this season at 8-2

By Andy Buhler, Columbian Staff Writer
Published: December 31, 2018, 9:30pm

Isaiah Parker’s 1,000th point was rather unremarkable, if you ask him.

He knew he was approaching the landmark at some point, but the Seton Catholic senior doesn’t even remember which shot etched him into program history as the first 1,000-point scorer.

It’s fitting, given that in his final season, the four year varsity contributor has stopped worrying about his scoring totals altogether.

“I don’t care about points anymore,” Parker said. “I just want to get dubs (wins). That’s all that matters, really. I’m looking to get everyone else into it, make everybody happy.”

And the Cougars are doing that — getting “dubs” — too. Their 8-2 start is a program-best since the school opened in 2009, a mark of the program’s growth, which Parker has been instrumental in.

Notching its first 1,000-point scorer? That’s a crucial step in building a winning culture.

Athletic director Phil Kent approached Parker after the Dec. 27 win over La Salle (Ore.) and informed him that, amid a near triple-double — 13 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists — he’d scored is 1,000th point.

Parker recalls his freshman year Kent, also Seton’s head coach for the last two seasons, telling him about the importance of establishing a winning mentality.

“It’s very important,” Parker said. “Building a legacy, we talk about that a lot. We’re the first team that could do something big.”

The Cougars won just two games that year and finished last (1-11) in 1A Trico League.

This season, Parker has set the expectations high for the rest of the team. When they do drills that involve conditioning for the losing team, Parker runs with the losing team no matter what.

“That’s demonstrating the selfless attitude,” coach Kris Small said. “Somebody who is playing for the team instead of himself.”

Parker and Delano Morgan are the only players on this season’s roster who came in as freshman together in 2015-16. Morgan would have played all four years like Parker, but a broken leg during the 2017 football season caused him to miss his junior, and the start of his senior, basketball seasons.

Kent stepped down to promote assistant coach Small to be his replacement. Small said having a player like Parker reach 1,000 points should serve as an example for middle schoolers who factor athletics into deciding where to go to high school.

Parker attended Shahala Middle School in Evergreen Public Schools and first attended a private school when he opted for a private Catholic school with the support of his parents.

Kent took over the boys basketball program for the 2016-17 season to “re-establish culture” and “get the kids on the same page as best as we could.” He hired Small as an assistant.

“We just kind of started building the process from there,” Small said.

Two years later, the Cougars finished 11-12 overall and 5-5 in the 1A Trico League (tied for third place). They enter league play Thursday against rival and defending Trico champs La Center at 8-2.

Parker’s goals this season go far beyond becoming the first player to score 1,000 points in program history.

This team, he said, is the first that could do something “big.”

That’s in part, Small said, to Parker’s ability to change his role from scorer to more of a do-it-all contributor.

“Coach Small, he’s got a great system going,” Parker said. “If we just trust it it’ll work. Hopefully those younger kids will listen to him like we do.

“The mentality (has changed). … We’re kind of progressively getting better, we’ve still got a lot of work to do too.”

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Columbian Staff Writer