Familiar faces bolster Edmonds-Woodway lineup | Boys basketball

A trio of senior standouts return to the Warriors after taking a year off from sport
By David Pan | Dec 06, 2018
Photo by: David R Pan Edmonds-Woodway junior Mutdung Bol goes up for a shot against Juanita during a nonconference game Friday, Nov. 30 at Edmonds-Woodway High School.

It appeared that Edmonds-Woodway’s boys basketball team would be in somewhat of a rebuilding mode with the loss of four key seniors from last season.

The Warriors’ top two returning players were juniors Mutdung Bol, a first-team, all-league standout, and Chinedu Acholonu, who started five games.

At the start of last summer, coach Robert Brown wasn’t quite sure about the make-up of the roster, other than there would be new faces coming up from the junior varsity team.

Brown was half right.

Three JV players are moving up, but three other familiar faces are back with the team after taking a year off.

Edmonds-Woodway’s senior class has been bolstered with return of Karsen Tjarneberg, Tai Starchman and Colin Whitney. Tjarneberg and Starchman, members of the Warriors baseball team, and Whitney were on the junior varsity team during their sophomore year.

The three took a break their junior year and made the decision to return to the hardwood for their senior season.

“It’s good to have those guys back because they’ve been in the program for two years and came up through the feeder program,” Brown said.

Bol and Acholonu were both glad to hear about the return of Tjarneberg, Starchman and Whitney.

“They’ve still got it,” Bol said. “They want to work hard and have a good year.”

The three seniors give the Warriors a strong inside presence.

“Karsen, Tai and Colin, that’s three solid bigs to get rebounds and to box out,” Acholonu said. “They play solid. They’re scrappy. They’re tough. That senior leadership will be big for us and our team pushing forward.”

Bol and Acholonu also have strong leadership skills that their teammates recognized as both were elected co-captains.

Bol already has drawn interest from two Division I schools – Eastern Washington and Portland State.

“I’m just looking for Mutdung to be the best version of himself,” Brown said. “Mutdung is a natural leader.”

Bol also will be counted on for offense and he’s off to a good start, scoring a team-high 18 points to lead the Warriors to a season-opening 58-44 victory over Juanita in a nonconference game Friday, Nov 30, at Edmonds-Woodway High School.

Acholonu finished with 14 points and Bol’s younger brother, Nuer had 10 points.

Brown also expects senior Erroll Richards, Tjarneberg and junior transfer Nikko McNeal to be contributors on offense.

“We have a couple of guys who can fit that second and third scoring role,” Brown said.

Acholonu is handling the point guard duties this season.

“He’s more of a facilitator,” Brown said. “He does all the dirty work on defense.”

Edmonds-Woodway is known for its high intensity pressure defense and against the Rebels the Warriors buckled down in the second half, limiting their opponents to only 10 points.

“The biggest thing we’re trying to get together is the cohesion on defense,” Brown said. “It’s a hard work in progress when the guys haven’t all played together.”

Said Mutdung Bol, “We are a high pace in your face kind of team. … We have to communicate. That’s what we’re going to need so we can play our best defense.”

Brown said that the Warriors are coming together well.

“The guys all like each other,” Brown said. “The chemistry is great. … Now it’s just figuring out where to be on the court and making the movements natural.”

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