Coming off a third place finish at the state championships last year, this year’s Mule squad is eager to earn a repeat trip to Spokane, despite returning only two starters from last year’s team.
Led by the 6’3” senior workhorse Shane Souvenir, the 2013/2014 Mules feature a vastly different offensive approach from Mule teams of recent years, centered on pounding the ball into the post and relying on the size of Souvenir and the quickness of senior guard Austin Good and juniors Brady LaBerge and Brandon Budd to crash the offensive glass.
Last Thursday, the Mules opened up their season on the road at Napavine with a gritty 68-62 victory behind Souvenir’s 32 points, 17 rebounds and four blocks. Budd and Travis Wegdahl added 11 points apiece, with Good tossing in eight, LaBerge four, and Zach Calvert two. Budd dished out a team-high six assists, and Wegdahl hauled in six rebounds.
On Saturday night, Souvenir posted another outstanding line, collecting 28 points, 16 rebounds and four blocks as the Mules edged the visiting South Bend Indians 58-48.
Budd just missed out on a double-double, grabbing 10 rebounds and netting nine points. LaBerge and Good each added eight points, Hank Ferguson three, and Calvert two.
On Monday night, Budd (28) and Souvenir (26) combined to torch the Winlock Cardinals 70-58 with the duo accounting for 54 points.
Souvenir continued his early season surge as he picked up another 14 rebounds and five blocks while Good corralled another 11 boards to go with his seven points. LaBerge, Ferguson and Wegdahl rounded out the scoring with three points apiece.
The Mules capped off their week with a 64-34 trouncing of the Pe Ell Trojans on Tuesday, spearheaded by the triple-threat of Souvenir, Good, and Budd (22, 16, and 13, respectively).
Souvenir notched his fourth consecutive double-double, grabbing 14 rebounds, with Good and Budd collecting five boards apiece and LaBerge handing out a season-high nine assists in the win.
To date, the game plan has been relatively successful, resulting in numerous second-, third-, and even fourth-chance opportunities at the basket per game. Whether that trend will continue throughout the year remains to be seen, but Thursday’s test against powerhouse Morton-White Pass should be an early indicator as to the potential of this year’s team returning to the Arena.