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Tahoma Bears ‘ballers dance to their own tune | Boys basketball
A Tahoma boys basketball practice almost always includes music blaring from the gym speakers.
It’s a hodgepodge of tunes that ranges from 2000-era R&B hits to Katy Perry jams to “Call me, maybe.”
Coach Brian Davis refers to it as “clean pop” and hip-hop. The players know it as “weird” music; “coach’s” music.
But the veteran Bears hoopsters don’t bicker about swapping the playlist. They don’t argue. In fact, sometimes they dance.
“It’s better than nothing,” said senior captain Coleman Wooten. “It bumps up the mood a little bit.”
Davis knows the clichéd rah-rah rhetoric about senior-laden teams who are successful because they’ve played together for so long. He typically doesn’t buy it.
“They’ve all been playing together,” he said.
But the second-year coach can’t help but gush about his current senior class who have dribbled to a tune like few others in the school’s history. By Davis’ calculations, eight of the nine seniors will have been apart of one of, if not the, winningest two year stretches school history.
“I don’t think anyone has taken us seriously,” said Julian Sumler, senior starting forward for the postseason bound Bears. “To put Tahoma in the light is nice.”
The Bears won their first ever league championship in 2013, led by then-junior Wooten who earned the South Puget Sound League North division MVP. After losing in the second round of districts, the squad returned nine seniors and, as of press time, were battling Kentwood for second place in the division.
Wooten, who was a nominee for the prestigious 2014 McDonald’s All American Games in Chicago, again scorched through regular season play, averaging 25 points, 12 rebounds and four assists per game. But Davis said, beyond Wooten’s spectacular play, it’s been the senior’s overall energy and boundless enthusiasm for the game that has led to not only success, but to “building a successful culture.”
“You don’t always get that,” Davis said. “They really want to see each other do well.”
Tahoma is not known for prolonged stretches of basketball success. The seniors agree that the continuity of playing together and being friends on- and off the court makes a huge difference in the win column.
“We laugh with each other,” said Grant Johnson.
“And at each other,” added teammate Tyler Brenneman.
Beyond the W’s, the Bears want to be remembered as a group of young men who played with a smile on their faces.
“We play with joy,” said DeShon Williams, who also started on last year’s championship team.
No matter the end result on the court, Davis’ proudest accomplishment of the year may come in the classroom. He expects the athletes will finish in the top five for the Basketball Academic State Championship.
“It’s a lot easier to coach on the court when you have tremendous young men off the court,” Davis said. “And that’s a testament to their families.”