Sports: Forks boys win trophy at state basketball tournament

YAKIMA — There was a changing of the guard at the Class 2A state basketball tournament.

It was just hard to notice with both teams playing at once.

While the Forks boys’ 35-32 victory over Lakeside on Friday had clinched two straight state tournament trophies — making them the only Spartan team to do so — the Forks girls made a statement that its run is just beginning.

Despite losing 36-28 in the fifth-place game to Hoquiam on Saturday afternoon to finish eighth, the senior-laden boys team had already taken its place in school history as the most successful class of boys basketball players Forks has ever seen.

By winning a league championship, district championship and placing at state in the same season, the Spartans staked their claim to history.

“In my era, I would say this is the best tight-knit group,” Forks boys head coach Scott Justus said.

“It might not be the most athletic, but it is the most tight-knit group to come through.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that this has been the most successful basketball team in one year than any team in history.”

On the opposite side of Yakima’s SunDome — at the same time the Forks boys were dispatching of Lakeside in the final seconds on Friday — the girls team’s first trip to the state tournament in 16 years was coming to an inglorious end in a 66-35 loss to LaCenter.

Yet with this season’s improbable run to the tournament, the girls opened up possibilities of matching the boys’ unprecedented three year run of consecutive tournament appearances.

It’s especially true when considering that four of Forks’ top five scorers this season are either in the sophomore or freshman class.

“I don’t think anybody expected us to be here at the beginning of the season,” Forks girls head coach Cameron Botkin said.

“It’s so good for them to have that under their belt, it says a lot about who they are. We have a lot to build on.”

For the boys, however, Saturday’s loss to Southwest Washington League rival Hoquiam marked the end of an era.

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