Each year, with input from local coaches, The Olympian selects its All-Area boys basketball team.
This year, six high schools from Thurston County and surrounding areas are represented by players and coaches selected to the first and second teams.
The 12 spots, broken down by leagues, are 4A South Puget Sound League (one), 3A South Sound Conference (eight) and 2A Evergreen Conference (three).
All statistics listed are final through the 2017-18 season. All portraits taken by staff photographer Joshua Bessex.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Guard, 6-5, senior
Plays with a chip on his shoulder, and always has. The Wichita State signee is tough, and refuses to back down to any oppoent, which is a big reason why he was one of the most sought after recruits in Washington. Stevenson smashed six modern Class 3A state tournament records — including two set by future NBA lottery pick Michael Porter Jr. — in leading Timberline to a fourth-place trophy this season, its best finish since 1981. The 3A SSC first-teamer, and three-time Olympian All-Area selection, averaged 24.7 points, 7.1 rebounds as a senior. He holds school records for points in a single game (45), season (717) and career (1,861). Stevenson’s career points total is the most a Thurston County player has produced in the modern era.
What coach Allen Thomas says: “He is a fierce competitor. He’s not willing to take a backseat to anybody. It doesn’t matter who it is or what team they’re on, he really just has that fire burning inside of him. His edge is that chip ... as being a competitor who is not going to back down.”
COACH OF THE YEAR
25th season, 21-4 record this season, 3A SSC champions
Brown is one of just eight active coaches in the South Sound with more than 300 career wins. In the 25 years hes been at North Thurston, he has 326 and this season gave a nice boost to that total. The Rams started the season 19-0, and picked up two statement wins over crosstown rival Timberline to lock up their first 3A SSC title. Brown coached his talented group of shooters to the program’s first state-playoff appearance since 2012, with a thrilling win over Spanaway Lake. If he coaches as long as his father, Ron Brown, did at Centralia (56 years), he’s on pace to pass him for career wins (722).
Forward, 6-3, senior
Put together two of the most impressive back-to-back seasons a high school player can. Christian scored 1,095 points in his junior and senior seasons to finish his four-year career as North Thurston’s all-time leading scorer (1,495 points). This season, the 3A SSC first-team selection and two-time Olympian All-Area selection averaged 19.7 points, 6.1 rebounds per game to help the Rams win their first outright league title in nearly a decade, and make their first state-playoff appearance since 2012. Christian finished his career with lifetime averages of 15.9 points, 5.8 rebounds per game.
What coach Tim Brown says: “Dynamic scorer and rebounder. What made Clay special was his ability to score from all areas of the court and come up with the clutch rebounds when we needed them. Clay has meant so much to our program over last four years. He’s taken us to new heights.”
Forward, 6-6, junior
Was a monster in the paint at both ends of the floor, and provided a big inside presence to balance out Capital’s outside shooters. Erickson was named to the 3A SSC first team after averaging 14.5 points, nine rebounds per game, and was a spark that kept the Cougars in contention for much of the season. Behind Erickson’s reliable production — he is also Capital’s quarterback and threw for more than 2,000 yards this season — Capital finished one game short of the state playoffs.
What coach Brian Vandiver says: “Almost every night he was the hardest working player on the floor. He is our heart and soul, without a doubt. The scoring, the rebounding, he just does everything we need. His defense is also incredible. He plays the best defense on our team as well.”
Guard, 5-10, senior
Morton was the glue guy that held Timberline’s team together. When he wasnt on the floor, the Blazers werent nearly as productive. The three-year starting point guard averaged 12.7 points, 4.7 assists and was a reliable contributor at both ends of the floor as Timberline notched a fourth-place finish at the Tacoma Dome — the program’s best finish in 37 years. Always a steady presence, Morton scored two crucial overtime baskets to lift Timberline over Kelso in its final game of the season.
What coach Allen Thomas says: “He’s a floor general, he’s our leader, he’s our captain. When he’s cool, calm and collected everybody else is. As far as the South Sound area, he is the best point guard around — not even close. For us, we’re just lucky that he’s on our team.”
Guard, 6-1, junior
Played most of the season with a nagging Achilles injury, and still finished as Capital’s leading scorer, averaging 15.5 points per game. Penner scored in double digits in all but three appearances this season, and finished with a season-high 37 points in a win over River Ridge in December. The 3A SSC first-teamer — and two-time Olympian All-Area selection in football — pitched in another 4.0 assists for the Cougars before his injury kept him out of the playoffs.
What coach Brian Vandiver says: “He is, without a doubt, the greatest competitor I’ve ever coached. He thrives in situations where there needs to be a big basket, and he provides it. He played with an injury most wouldn’t be able to play through the entire year, and still put up good numbers. He’s a winner in every sense of the word.”
Guard, 6-0, senior
Was named the 3A SSC MVP after pacing the Rams with 21.3 points per game, and was a big reason why North Thurston averaged 72.5 points as a team. Spencer has “sneaky” athleticism, his coach says, and elevated his game his final two years to become North Thurston’s top offensive threat as a senior. He frustrated opponents from everywhere on the floor, shooting 52 percent from the field and 45 percent from 3-point range. His two 3-pointers in the fourth quarter against Spanaway Lake lifted the Rams to the state playoffs for the first time since 2012. Spencer finished his career with 1,073 points in three years.
What coach Tim Brown says: “Jeremy raised the level of his game from his junior to his senior year in a way that’s hard to do when you’re already averaging 17 points per game, but he did it with an array of scoring from the outside, drives and pull-ups. He rose the level of intensity on defense by rebounding the basketball as well.”
Lucas Bowser, Olympia, jr.
CJ Geathers, Tumwater, sr.
Casson Rouse, Timberline, sr.
Jordan Thomas, W.F. West, sr.
Brandon White, W.F. West, sr.