AMHS Boys Varsity Basketball: Pieces to the Puzzle 

Puzzles serve as a great metaphor for many things in life. One thing it’s particularly easy to compare a puzzle to is a sports team. Everything from the practices to who plays what position to what the coach is like comes together to form the big picture of the team or the team’s goal. Without one piece, the puzzle cannot be completed just like a team isn’t complete without all of it’s aspects.

Recently I caught up with a few members from the AMHS boys varsity basketball team to try and put together the puzzle of their team and the 2016-2017 season. Currently 4-2 in conference and 8-4 overall, the team falls second in Cascade Conference rankings to rival Kings High School, who they lost to by only 7 points last Friday night. This puzzle is about so much more than just wins and loses though, so here’s what I found out about some of the puzzle pieces helping to make the Wildcat’s click.

Practice. Junior forward Trey Miller, who has been playing basketball for 10 years, said during practice the team works on a lot of positional and individual skill work. “We spend some time on offensive and defensive sets too,” he added. Practices usually concludes with scrimmage time.

Brotherhood. Just from watching the team play together, you can tell they have a strong bond. From making jokes on the court to supporting each other from the bench, the team is visibly comfortable with each other and enjoy playing as a team. “The team is super fun to be around all the time. It’s a great group of guys,” Sam Johnson, junior guard, commented.

Coach. The Wildcats hired a new head coach this year, Anthony Slater. Slater played in college and several professional leagues; he’s spent the past few years coaching a Washington Elite AAU national team. The AMHS team had good things to say about him. “He gives us the freedom to just play basketball,” Jeric Williams, another junior guard said, “instead of giving us particular plays every time.”

Passion. “I’ve been playing basketball ever since I could remember,” Johnson said. Williams added for himself, “I love everything about the game. I love the atmosphere, the adrenaline during games, and the ability to make plays.”

The Goal. “This team is creating a new name for AMHS basketball,” Miller said. The team’s focus is to go win by win and make it to the Cascade Conference Championship, which will be happening in a few weeks. Of course, from there the goal would be to continue moving forward win by win into the post season.

And there you have it. Some of the most important pieces to this 2016-2017 AMHS boys varsity basketball team. Keep an eye out for them in the next few weeks, because I assume they’ll be doing some pretty big things.



Player Profile: Maddie Hill

Maddie Hill

Junior (’18)

Varsity Girl’s Basketball, Guard, #4

Maddie Hill is an explosive player on Coach Snyder’s 6-3 varsity girls basketball team. Averaging 7 points per game*, she’s scored 42 points over the course of 6 games this season. On Tuesday night versus the Sultan Turks, I watched her put up 2 three’s in a row effortlessly. A transfer last year to Archbishop Murphy, this is her second year on the team.

When not on the court for the Wildcats, Hill plays for the Seattle Future Black team. The team trains rigorously, bringing in renowned NBA and WNBA skills trainer Chris Hyppa once a week. On top of that the team practices 2-3 times each week for about 2.5 hours each day.

Hill has been playing basketball since she was 4, and says her favorite part of playing the game is surprising people with her ability because of her height. She stands 5’4″, a full 6 inches shorter than her tallest teammate. But Hill’s height doesn’t matter on the court, as her stats prove she is a powerful player.

When asked about what she’s looking forward to this season with the Wildcats, Hill said, “I can’t wait to see how far we go this season. We have grown so much as a team and I’m excited to see what we can do if and when adversity hits.”

*all stats taken from

The Multi-Talented Members of Wildcat Basketball

Students at Archbishop Murphy are generally very involved in school activities. With the multitude of sports, electives, and extra-curricular activities at AMHS, it’s not hard to find one or more things you enjoy being involved in, or at least think would look good on your college transcript.

One place it’s easy to see the crop of multi-talented students Archbishop Murphy boasts is within it’s girls and boys basketball programs. Several players are multi-sport athletes with offers from colleges, and a few also participate in academic clubs and leadership roles. Let’s take a look at these players.

Megan Dorney (jr; F): Dorney ran varsity cross country this season, placing 7th in conference and 39th in districts. She was named 1st team all-conference. Dorney is also a member of AMHS Deca.

Chloe Morrison (sr): Morrison has been a member of the Wildcat Band for a few years at AMHS. She plays the clarinet.

Hannah Noceda (sr; G): Noceda has played soccer for the Wildcats all 4 of her years here. This year the team took 3rd in the state competition.

Jamie Cymbaluk (sr; F):  Cymbaluk, a forward for the Wildcat girls JV team, was starting outside hitter for the volleyball team this season as they led a 21-1 season and placed 3rd in the state. She was named 1st team all league for this season. Next fall, she has committed to play at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego.

Abe Lucas (sr; C): Lucas is just as much as a powerhouse on the basketball court as he was this season on the football field, thanks in part to his height (6’8″). He’s a dominant point scorer for the basketball team, a much different role than he’s used to on the football field, where he plays outside tackle and defensive end. Lucas has committed to Washington State University to play football.

Sam Johnson (jr; G): Johnson’s main sport is soccer, which he plays at AMHS and for his Rush team. Last season he was named 1st team all conference and 2nd team all state as a defender while the team coasted to their second 2A state title in a row. Johnson has also been a class officer all three of his years so far at AMHS.

Kyler Gordon (jr; W): Gordon is best known for being a phenomenal talent on the football field. Already boasting offers from the University of Oregon, UCLA, and the University of Washington, he has one more year to play at Archbishop Murphy, where he is also famous for his celebratory back flips.

Connor Johnson (sr; F): Johnson was the starting varsity quarterback for the Wildcats his junior and senior seasons. Over those 2 seasons he passed for a total of 3,352 yards and had 44 passing TDs. He was a leader on and off the field this year, keeping the team lighthearted as they faced unforeseeable difficulties during the season. Johnson currently has 3 offers to play college ball.

Jackson Yost (sr; PF): Yost has played defensive tackle on the AMHS varsity team for 3 years. He currently has offers from multiple schools, including Columbia and Dartmouth. Yost is also an ASB officer this year.

Anfernee Gurley (sr; G): Gurley dominated the football field this season, helping to lead the Wildcats to their first 2A state title despite the teams tumultuous season. This year he had a total of 1,432 rushing yards and 1,501 receiving yards. Recently, he committed to play football at Eastern Washington University.

Both the girls and boys varsity teams are currently 5-2, with games and tournaments scheduled over the break before resuming conference games in January. I’ve heard from several players that they are confident in this season, both the boys and the girls, their teammates, and their coaches. Make sure to get out and watch them before the season is over.

*F,G,C,PF and W denote players basketball position

**stats have been taken from