Ingraham’s quest to get back to district playoffs
By Ronan Axtell
The Ingraham boys’ basketball team had a historic season last year, go ing to State competition for the first time in 67 years. Expectations were riding high coming into this year, with the return of the core players who propelled the team to State last year: Mitchell Saxen, Coz Collins and Latrell Jones. A few lucky transfers have also helped make a state title within reach. Of the transfers, junior guard Charlie Puetz said, “They are a talented group of people for sure.” He was also unequivocal about the goal for the year. When the team sat down in the locker room before the season to talk about what they wanted to accomplish, every single player said a variation of the same thing. State Championship.
The Rams started off this year on the right track, with dominating wins over Npire and Franklin. The Rams also beat Seattle Prep, now ranked 7th in the state. This was an especially impressive series of wins considering that St. Mary’s-commited Mitchell Saxen was out with a back injury. Senior forward Tyrell Moore, however, stepped up, especially against Prep—scoring 26 points with five assists. “We shot the ball very well throughout the course of those games, and we did a solid job defending,” said senior guard Maui Sze on what helped the Rams to be successful early in the year. The Rams, however, were unable to carry that momentum into their fourth game of the year, against top-ranked Eastside Catholic, which turned into a 30-point blowout. The Rams struggled to guard the elite backcourt combo of 4-star guards Shane Nowell and Nolan Hickman. The Rams then departed to San Diego to play in the Torrey Pines Holiday Classic. This showcase brought together some of the top teams in the country, but the Rams failed to bring their A-game, going 0-4. After falling to a record of 3-5, the Rams were able to right the ship with wins over Blanchet and Lincoln back in Seattle. Everything appeared to be going right for the Rams as they started out their game against Roosevelt with a 16-3 lead. Roosevelt came back and ended up winning in a stunning upset. Friday 1/17, the Rams tied their record again when they played a nail-biter as the finale of a quad against West Seattle, emerging victorious in the fi nal thrilling seconds. At the next quad on February 7th, the boys played an equally tense game against Nathan Hale and again came out on top.
Despite the early season setbacks, the Rams believe they have a good chance to make some noise in the Tacoma Dome. Puetz said a state title was “definitely” still the goal. The prospects are looking up, with 1st Team All-Metro center, and reigning Defensive Player of the Year set to come back soon from his back injury. To improve, the Rams need to “Play more team basketball,” Puetz said. ‘We over me’ is the team motto, and with that mindset, the Rams are ready to get ringed up.