The Foster boys basketball team is coming off a season of highs and lows that eventually proved they can play deep into the postseason.
The Bulldogs fell one victory short of a trip to the state tournament in Yakima last March, with an emotional loss to Hockinson High School, 64-53.
The success and the loss will “no doubt” provide motivation this season, says Head Coach Isaac Tucker.
“I think the main motivation is to simply make it further this year than we did the last; every year,” he said. “We have a goal of building a sustainable program that plays in the state tournament year in and year out.”
Last year’s run, he said, “shows the guys that we are right there as a program and sky’s the limit.”
Tucker lost seasoned starters to graduation but a key to building the sustainable program is the growing number of freshmen turning out, from one his first year as coach, to two last year and now, eight freshmen, he said.
This year the team is “very green,” he said of the team’s experience level. Out of 12 on the varsity roster, only six played last year; four played on the junior varsity and the other two played varsity.
The Bulldogs lost the first three games of the season, to Chief Sealth, Kennedy Catholic and Sultan, but on Dec. 10 came roaring back from a big first-quarter deficit to beat Tyee 71-58.
“Well, to keep it simple we learned we have a lot of work to do,” Tucker said of the opening loss to Chief Sealth. He’d like to play the Seahawks again in February when the Bulldogs “will be a completely different team.”
Senior Ronnie Roberson, a 6-foot-5 forward, is the only returning starter from last year’s team, which ended the season 13-15. Senior guard Patrick Straight joins him as the team’s two leaders.
Roberson is starting to capture regional attention for his play.
The two freshmen on the team are wing Jordan Magee and guard Freddie Roberson, Ronnie Roberson’s brother. Also new to the team is 6-foot-3 senior Keith Hill, who played on Foster’s football team with Ronnie Roberson.
“Keith’s physicality may easily be the difference-maker for our post-season chances,” said Tucker of Hill. “Last year we didn’t have anybody who could match Ronnie’s size and strength on the court if he ever got in foul trouble.”
Hill has already shown his value to team, said Tucker. In the game against Kennedy Catholic, he played the entire game, scoring 8 points and pulling down 12 rebounds.
A key loss this year is sophomore Isiah Lewis, who is not playing because of eligibility issues. He, along with the Roberson brothers, were to have been the core of the team, Tucker said.
“We’ll fill in the gaps without him, but his absence is already noticeable on the court,” Tucker said.
The Bulldogs play Evergreen at home Wednesday (Dec. 17) and Lindbergh on Friday at Lindbergh.
Last Friday the Bulldogs lost to Hazen, 90-48, at Hazen.