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Sixth-place finish has Seton Catholic boys hungry for more

Team leaves 1A state tournament with championship aspirations

By Micah Rice, Columbian Sports Editor
Published: March 2, 2024, 11:33am
4 Photos
The Seton Catholic boys basketball team poses with the sixth place trophy at the Class 1A state tournament Saturday, March 2, 2024 in Yakima. The Cougars' season ended with a 53-46 loss to Freeman in the fourth-place game.
The Seton Catholic boys basketball team poses with the sixth place trophy at the Class 1A state tournament Saturday, March 2, 2024 in Yakima. The Cougars' season ended with a 53-46 loss to Freeman in the fourth-place game. (Micah Rice/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

YAKIMA – The Yakima Valley SunDome isn’t a greenhouse, yet the Seton Catholic boys basketball team believes it grew as much in four days here as it had all season.

The Cougars finished their best season in program history, falling to Freeman 53-46 in the fourth-place game of the 1A state tournament on Saturday.

The sixth-place plaque isn’t just the first boys basketball state award that will adorn the trophy case at Seton. It’s a starting point.

That’s because, according to junior guard Rico George, these four games in Yakima showed Seton what it takes to compete with the state’s best.

“Building our chemistry in these environments is where you get the most improvement,” George said. “It’s easy to build chemistry against teams you’re beating by 20. But when you have to bounce back against teams that are the best in the state, you’re going to have times when you’re yelling at your teammates and you’re going to have to pick them back up too.”

Seton has just one senior. Simon Sihel started Saturday’s game before checking out to let the usual starting lineup of four juniors and one freshman take over.

“We’re all coming back next year and we’ve got great chemistry,” junior guard Mason Glassmire said. “I’m going to remember all the good times we had. Yes, we remember the losses. We’ll take those into next season and build off that.”

Perhaps the most important of those losses came in Thursday’s quarterfinals when No. 7 seed Seton took top-seeded Zillah down to the wire, losing 56-54.

For a team that had never advanced beyond the state Round of 12, that game proved the Cougars belonged.

“We had our chance against Zillah and we fell,” George said. “But we’re going to build off that. We’re not going to shy away from it. We’re going to come back stronger.”

Against No. 4 seed Freeman, the Cougars clawed back from a 44-36 fourth quarter deficit with an 8-0 run fueled by two Tyler Tran 3-pointers. But Seton was outscored 9-2 the rest of the way.

Freshman Kaiden Wilson had a team-high 14 points and eight rebounds, just missing his fourth double-double in as many games. Brady Angelo added 11 points.

As many on-court memories as Seton made in four games, George said the entire trip reinforced the team’s already strong bond.

“We’re just a group of friends that like to play basketball, it’s that simple,” George said. “We go on the court and do our thing. Then off the court we’re all best friends.”

Leaving the SunDome, there was a sense that expectations will only grow for Seton Catholic between this tournament and next year’s.

But that’s something the Cougars embrace.

“Just win it all now,” George said. “We all know what it takes.”

FREEMAN 53, SETON CATHOLIC 46

SETON CATHOLIC (19-8) — Tyler Tran 6, Mason Glassmire 5, Brady Angelo 11, Kyler Dixon 0, Rico George 2, Lance Lee 8, Kiet Nguyen 0, Simon Sihel 0, Kaiden Wilson 14, Cole Comfort 0. Totals 16 (5) 9-10 46.

FREEMAN (23-4) — Nash McLean 3, Colton Wells 6, Caleb Grant 9, Vance Coyner 5, Micah Hodges 8, Gavin Zehm 2, Jack Florence 0, Tanner Goldsmith 13, Finn LaPointe 7. Totals 18 (10) 7-11 53.

Seton Catholic 9 13 14 10—46

Freeman 9 17 15 12—53

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