This one was for Coach Mike.
A year after capturing the Washington Class 1A title in basketball, Cascade Christian of Puyallup wasn't playing to defend that title. The team was playing to honor its coach.
After losing 53-year-old assistant coach Mike Kilcup to a heart attack in December, the Cascade Christian basketball team dedicated it season to Kilcup.
Wearing "MK" patches on their jerseys on Saturday night at the Yakima Valley SundDome, the Cougars (25-2) defeated Zillah (23-6) 71-59 for their second consecutive Class 1A championship.
Led by senior guards Cody Shackett (26 points) and TJ Tuttle (22 points), Cascade Christian outscored Zillah 20-9 in the third quarter following a close first half.
It was Tuttle and Shackett, a four-year starter and the leading scorer in school history, who hit 3-pointers during a 14-5 run for a 50-37 lead entering the fourth quarter.
Zillah could not crawl back into game, hindered by foul trouble to their top three scorers. Joel Yellow Owl (16 points) and Scottie Riojas (10 points) both fouled out.
Shackett, who scored 35 in the semifinals, finished a stellar career. He was MVP of the Class 1A tournament last year.
In the end, though, the victory wasn't simply about the successful finish to Tuttle's high school career, or even Cody Shackett's record-setting years at Cascade Christian.
No, this was about Coach Mike.
- Story by Wescott Eberts