Deer Park boys win second straight district basketball championship

Michael Brock

The Deer Park boys basketball team beat Freeman 71–62 on Feb. 19 to win the NEA district championship for the second straight year.

With the victory, the Stags qualify for the state tournament. They received the 11-seed and will play 14-seed King’s in a loser-out regional game at 6 p.m. this Friday, Feb. 28 at West Valley High School in Spokane.

The winner will advance to next week’s hardwood classic in Yakima. Deer Park is currently ranked 11th in RPI, King’s is 17th.

In the NEA championship win over Freeman, junior Dawson Youngblood led four Stags in double figures with 24 points. Joining him were senior Jobi Gelder (19 points), senior Hunter Dryden (17) and junior Gavin Hanson (11).

Youngblood, who was named to the NEA first team all-conference, was all smiles after the game. “[I’m] just real happy, man,” he said. “Just real proud of myself, real proud of my team. It’s a great feeling. Cool to be a part of for sure.”

This is the second consecutive NEA title for the Stags after beating Newport in the district championship last year. The 2019 team advanced to state and lost 63–46 to La Center in regionals and lost 77–40 to King’s at the hardwood classic.

Assistant coach Mike Brose said that even with the excitement of a second straight district title, the team will be prepared for state. “It’s not super hard to get them focused during post season,” Brose said. “This is what we play for… They’re ready to go.”