PORT ANGELES — From the soccer field to the basketball court, Port Angeles senior Stuart Methner has never been afraid to shoot his shot.
Shooting your shot is a well-traveled online meme that essentially translates to not being afraid to ask an important question or take matters into your own hands (or feet).
The philosophy aligns hand-in-glove with Methner’s play as a valued reserve on the No. 7 Roughriders boys basketball team’s deep and senior-heavy roster.
It also corresponds well with Methner’s role as a forward on the Port Angeles boys soccer team. Methner led all North Olympic Peninsula boys soccer players last spring with 24 goals, earning first-team All Olympic League boys soccer honors as the Riders made a run to the state tournament.
Methner plays a different role for the basketball team, but he hopes the end point is the same — a state tournament appearance.
“Some guys in their second sport are a little timid — and he’s not, he will come at you and attack you,” Port Angeles boys basketball coach Kasey Ulin said.
“And that attitude is infectious. And as we get into postseason, having a guy like that that will play hard, compete and provide that type of leadership — it’s something you love to have as a coach.”
“Just because its not your primary sport doesn’t mean you can’t make a huge impact. And I think he enjoys that challenge.”
Methner said he hopes to provide a spark off the bench every time he enters a game.
“I’m not a starter but I try to bring as much energy to my teammates as I can,” Methner said. “If we are lacking at all, I try to make up for that. “
Ulin said Methner brings the same consistent effort in practice and games — and good luck beating him in conditioning drills.
“He can’t be beat on a set of lines,” Ulin said. “He’s one our hardest working kids. He’s improved his basketball skills and his shooting is consistent, his ball handling has improved and he’s so quick side-to-side.
“He provides so much energy. He can guard the whole floor and he’s a one-man fast break at times. As our backup point guard he has one of the best assist-to-turnover ratios on the team this year.”
There’s no on/off switch for his competitiveness, either.
“I’m pretty competitive in practice because I don’t like to be beat,” Methner said. “My teammates push me, but I try to stay ahead of them if I can.”
And while known more for his goal-scoring and offensive play for the Riders soccer team, Methner can play some defense.
“Fundamentally, it’s kind of the same [as soccer],” Methner said. “Square up with your opponent, don’t keep your eyes on the ball too much and know where their body is going instead. A lot of the lateral movement is the same. It’s a lot easier to move laterally with a basketball, but I think I make up for it pretty well.”
Methner hit three big 3-pointers against Sequim, including two in the fourth quarter as Port Angeles stretched a 3-point lead into a 25-point win. He’s not afraid to dial it in from long distance or drive the lane for layups.
“We have such good bigs inside I know that if I shoot a 3 that’s off they are going to be there to clean it up,” Methner said.
Keeping things light while preparing to play what the state ranking RPI says is the third-toughest schedule in Class 2A is important to Ulin and he said Methner also leads in that regard.
“We try to keep things light-hearted on the bus, in the locker room. We want a loose feeling and Stu is that guy for us with jokes and just a great sense of humor.”
Methner said the team is tight knit away from the court as well.
“We’ve spent so much time together,” Methner said. “There’s been lots of fun van trips, singing in the van, playing games. We are all really good friends on and off the court.”
And Ulin is hoping to prolong those season-ending goodbyes as long as possible.
“He’s a kid that as a coach, you are going to absolutely hate it when he walks off the floor for the last time,” Ulin said.
Sports reporter Michael Carman can be contacted at 360-417-3525 or [email protected].