2B Boys Basketball: Bittersweet Ending for Toledo’s Huge Senior Class

By Aaron VanTuyl

For The Chronicle

SPOKANE — Maybe the Indians should have let Lake Roosevelt back into the game. Bricked a few more shots in the fourth quarter. Taken a few plays off on defense. Tossed up some free throws left-handed.

A tight finish would have distracted them from the fact that, at long last, it was over — a fact that led to tears, founded somewhere between joy and despair, in Toledo’s locker room here Saturday morning.

“It’s funny, because it’s not like we were jumping around like we won the whole thing,” Toledo coach Grady Fallon said of the ending. “They were pretty excited there when the game was close, and once you’re like, ‘We’re gonna win this?’ they were almost bummed out.”

The Indians had an exemplary season, notching 24 wins, a Central 2B League title, the District 4 championship, and the fourth-place trophy from the State 2B tournament. It’s the best finish since the Indians’ 1A state title back in 2013, and the first trophy for this year’s senior class.

And that senior class is essentially the entire team. Junior Duke Schaplow saw a few minutes of action in the first half of Saturday’s 52-25 blowout of Lake Roosevelt, but beyond that every meaningful minute of Toledo’s state tournament run went to a senior.

That class includes the main rotation: Fano Arceo-Hansen, the jack-of-all-trades C2BL MVP; outside threat Andreas Malunat; heady, understated point guard Brian Wood; defensive specialist Hayden Farbo; shot-blocking center Westin Wallace; and sixth man Bryce Marcil.

They’ve been playing together since grade school, and taking cues from Fallon since sixth grade, when the Indians’ head coach was teaching at Toledo Middle School.

“Those guys are such basketball junkies. They live and breathe basketball,” Fallon said. “They’re like, ‘Oh my God, it’s over,’ and rightfully so, there was a lot of tears in there.”

The consolation, of course, was that they went out on a high note — something they couldn’t say with Friday losses in Spokane the last two seasons.

Fittingly, their senior season was the cure.

“It’s good and bad, I guess,” Arceo-Hansen said. “I’m sad it’s over, but happy we won in our last game.”

Malunat, too, was emotional after his final prep game.

“All this time we’ve put in together — we’ve all been playing with each other since like fourth grade,” Malunat said. “It’s just crazy. It was just tears or joy, basically, after the game.”

The loss to Kittitas on Thursday dropped Toledo into the tournament’s consolation bracket, but the margin — 57-50 in favor of the two-time defending champion Coyotes — was at least a benchmark of sorts. Kittitas had beaten Toledo by 27 back in December, and the Indians held a lead in the fourth quarter the second time around.

“We didn’t win it all, but we gave Kittitas a pretty good run, I think,” Malunat said. “I’m just glad we came out with a win today.”

Getting that win, and going out on top, was mostly just a matter of being more prepared — particularly in an early-morning game.

“We had a good warmup, at least, and our coach said, ‘Look, these guys aren’t really taking this seriously. They probably barely just woke up,’” Malunat pointed out. “We knew, ‘Alright, we need to come out hot,’ and we did.”

Fallon had commented earlier in the week about his team’s willingness to turn in early and adjust to playing four-straight morning games, and it showed on trophy Saturday when, as always, they strolled out of the locker room dressed for a job interview.

“I don’t know what else I could ask for out of the kids. For high school kids, it’s amazing the amount of time they put in — their manners, their appearance. It’s just amazing,” Fallon said, joking that the waitress at the team’s 6 a.m. breakfast was impressed by their shirt-and-tie outfits. “She goes, ‘You just don’t see young men like that anymore, you know?’”

Which is all why there was almost no chance the Indians weren’t going to finish strong against Lake Roosevelt. It was never in the senior-laden squad’s nature.

“I think we did it the right way,” Fallon said of the 2018-19 season. “They don’t act like idiots and all that stuff. I think my kids do it the right way. They’re good kids.”



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