A year ago, Sumner High’s boys basketball team probably doesn’t turn a three-point lead at halftime into a runaway victory.
Spartans coach Brett McDaniel points to near-misses during the early part of last season’s schedule as proof that his team was still figuring out its place.
“If it was close, they were coming out wondering if they were going to win,” McDaniel said. “Now they believe they’re going to win.”
No doubt about that.
The eighth-ranked Spartans ran away from district rival Bonney Lake in the second half, thumping the Panthers 63-42 Saturday night at Sumner.
Leading 30-27 at halftime, Sumner tightened its defense and outscored the Panthers 33-15 in the second half. The Spartans pulled away when they went on a 13-4 run that spanned the third and fourth quarters, taking a 52-39 advantage with four minutes left in the game.
Forward Zeb Glissmeyer scored a game-high 18 points, forward Daniel DeVries added 15 and forward David DeVries chipped in 11.
Forward Mike Gould led Bonney Lake (2-5) with 12 points.
At this point last season, Sumner had lost three of its first seven games by a combined 13 points. This year, all of Sumner’s victories have been double-digit wins and its lone loss was to undefeated Sammamish, a Class 3A school.
With all five starters, plus a few key role players, back from a team that qualified for the regional round of the state tournament last season, Sumner (6-1 overall) is emerging as a viable threat to make a deep postseason run.
“Last year we were good enough to win early in the year,” McDaniel said, “but they didn’t quite know how. So we lost a lot of 1-point, 2-point games. Now, you look at our third quarters, were coming out of halftime at every game (ready to take control).”
Sumner has slammed the door on opponents in the third quarter, outscoring them 107-65 in that period.
“We come out of the third quarter ready to roll,” Daniel DeVries said, “and that’s when we really go up on teams.”
Daniel DeVries said playing stingy defense has become a focus for the Spartans.
“That’s what we hang our hats on,” he said. “We know that will get us to where we want to be at the end of the season.”