John Peterson, Willapa Valley’s head boys’ basketball coach, reached a milestone by winning his 300th game. Peterson’s accomplishment came last Thursday night at North Beach HS in Oyehut. Peterson began his coaching career 21 years ago at North Beach. Two hundred and sixty eight of his wins came at Willapa Valley.
“First of all, I didn’t’ do anything. I just ran into a fantastic group at Valley the last few years. I’ve been very fortunate. “I’ve been blessed with really tough kids and they believe what we tell them,” Peterson told the Herald.
“On a personal note, it’s quite gratifying. I have personal and team goals each year. I’ve been blessed enough to have great players. Great players win games. If you have players, you can win games.”
Peterson said, “it’s more ironic than anything to get it there. That was cool! My first win was as a North Beach Hyak (head coach). We still have a lot of close friends over there. We’ve stayed in touch over the years.”
Peterson told the Herald what he likes most about coaching.
“I like to compete. I like the teaching and the planning and breaking down film – finding out what your strengths are. I like the relationships with the people, the kids, and the coaches.
“I’ve had lots of good assistants,” Peterson said. “Jay Pearson has been with me the whole time and Jim Noreen, the past 15 years. They’re great teachers of basketball. They’ve been invaluable. We’ve had really good junior high coaches over the years. It’s a community thing. You get the kids, and they know how to play already. Defense and rebounding and playing as a team are the bedrocks of a good fundamental team. If you can do that, you’re OK. We’ve got great fans and strong school support and administrative support. It isn’t like that everywhere.”
Peterson has coached the Vikings to 13 winning seasons of 16. Under Peterson, the Vikings have won eight league championships, four district titles, and have qualified to the state tournament nine times, which includes bringing home five trophies with the best finish in 2005 as the runner-up.
In all, Peterson has coached for 29 years, including five as an assistant coach for the Valley girls (1992-97). He also coached for three years at Concrete HS for three years in the girls program (1990, assistant and 1991 and 92 as the head coach). Peterson coached at North Beach as the head coach in 1984-85 as head coach when the school was located in Moclips. He was head coach of the Concrete boys from 1985-89.
Team Win over Hyaks
Willapa Valley’s big three of Stephen Camenzind, Matt Konigsberger and David Rockett took care of business during the 62-45 victory against the Hyaks (8-7, 5-4). Camenzind (7), Rockett (6) and Konigsberger (4) combined for 17 of Valley’s 18 assists. Konigsberger (8), Rockett (6) and Camenzind (6) also collected 20 of Willapa’s 30 rebounds. Konigsberger also had five thefts.
The Vikings jumped out to a good start by leading 18-13 after one quarter and still led by five at halftime (31-26). The Vikes pulled away in the third quarter by outscoring NB 18-8 in the frame. The Hyaks made a good comeback in the fourth quarter and got to within one point at 32-31 with 5:45 to go. Leading by two, Valley then went on a 15-2 run for a 49-34 edge.
Valley committed 12 turnovers in the game. The Vikes made 26 of 48 field goal attempts for a solid 54 percent.
Cody Buchanan banged in eight points and grabbed five boards and Drew Pearson scored six for WVHS.
“I’m really, really proud of our kids,” Peterson said. “They don’t call that place the House of Pain for nothing. We want them to be confident going over there.
“We realty played an excellent basketball game,’ Peterson said. “I was worried about Anthony Sagen being sick. But (Randy) Heckard, (Zack) Friese and (Steven) Ochman all played well. It was a really nice team win. We played really excellent defense. They’re a very good perimeter shooing team. We rebounded really, really well. We out-boarded them 30-19. We shot the basketball pretty darn good. We’re starting to understand who we are. We’re an OK perimeter team, but I’d rather take the ball inside.”
The Vikings are tied for first place with Raymond in the Pacific League with 8-1 records with three games remaining. The two rivals are in line for a championship showdown Tuesday at Tenoski Gym in Menlo. Raymond beat the Vikings 66-40 Jan. 3 at Seagull Gym. Valley played at Northwest Christian of Lacey last night and hosts South Bend Friday.