ISSAQUAH — The Seton Catholic boys sat dejected and quiet.
With heads hung minutes after the program’s best season in school history came to an end, assistant coach Jon Schroeder pulled out his phone and began to read a list of names.
One by one, he recited the team roster from 2009, the first year Seton Catholic opened its doors to students.
“You have no clue what it was to start this, and how proud they are of you,” Schroeder then said, through tears. “You’ve accomplished so much in short period of time.”
The Cougars lost 58-48 to Bellevue Christian at Issaquah High School in Saturday’s loser-out regional round of the 1A state tournament. Bellevue Christian advances to the Yakima SunDome to play 4-seed Okanogan in a loser-out on Wednesday.
The loss brought an end to the most decorated season in Seton Catholic basketball history, which included a third place Trico League finish and a fifth place finish in the district tournament, with the prize jewel of a state berth.
It also marked the end of the high school careers of Isaiah Parker — Seton’s first career 1,000-point scorer — and Delano Morgan, both of whom were a part of a two-win season as freshmen, and were instrumental in the program’s rise.
But that run fell short on Saturday.
Xavian Rushing scored 16 points, Isaiah Parker had 12 and Gabe Anderson added 11 for the Cougars. But Bellevue Christian’s Ken West, a 6-foot-7 small forward, proved to be a tough guard.
West scored 23 points and went 11 of 12 from the free-throw line. Rushing, Seton’s stretch-five, was caught in West’s crosshairs down low and battled foul trouble for much of the game before fouling out in the final minutes.
Griff Hopkins, son of University of Washington men’s basketball coach Mike Hopkins, added 14 points for the Vikings, who outscored the Cougars 15-8 in the third quarter after Seton took a one-point lead into halftime.
The Cougars saw the deficit grow steadily throughout the second half and trailed by as much as 10 with two minutes left. Senior Kellen Ball came fresh off the bench and hit a 3 with 28 seconds left to cut Bellevue Christian’s lead to six, but it was too little, too late.
“All game we had trouble hitting shots we normally get in the flow of our offense,” Seton head coach Kris Small said.
Small has an 18-7 record to show for his first season as a head coach. But, he said, the wins and losses don’t mean as much as the legacy this year’s group is leaving on the program.
“It means something to me,” Kris Small said, “and it’s going to mean something to them, too.”
As many coaches do when addressing their team after a season-ending loss, Seton’s staff didn’t look for answers, excuses or even closure. They addressed the life lessons learned in defeat.
“I don’t care what you do in your lives,” Schroeder told the team, “it’s a building process. This is just another step in that process.”
For the Cougars’ program, too.
Parker and Morgan each addressed the team. Their dejection turned to promise.
“We made it farther than any Seton Catholic team in school history,” Parker told his teammates. “That’s something to be proud of.”
Added Morgan: Me and Isaiah started it, we’ve been here for four years. We just pass the torch down to the youngins.”
BELLEVUE CHRISTIAN 58, SETON CATHOLIC 48
SETON CATHOLIC (18-7) — Isaiah Parker 12, Kellen Ball 3, Hayden Miller 2, Malik Williams 2, Gabe Anderson 11, Delano Morgan 2, Xavian Rushing 16, Andrew Olson 2. Totals 17 (7) 7-10 48.
BELLEVUE CHRISTIAN (16-7) —Jared Whitton 5, Mick Larsen 4, Andy Moyer 6, Griff Hopkins 14, Joseph Primas 5, Ken West 23, Jeff Jewett 0, Malcom Schiltz 2. Totals 18 (4) 17-19 58.
Seton 13 13 8 14—48
Bellevue Chr. 8 17 15 18—58