Sutter Middle School’s eighth grade boys are once again celebrating a championship in what is expected to be coach Kyle Wilkin’s final season at the helm.

Prior the Christmas break, the 9-1 Sutter boys’ basketball team played host to undefeated Rolling Hills of El Dorado Hills. Their only previous meeting took place during league play where an undermanned Sutter team of just six players were without a full squad due to illness and lost by seven. Thus, the Cougars were looking for redemption led by their MVP, Will Hakes, in a competitive championship matchup versus an unbeaten Rolling Hills team.

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Sutter started the game in moderate fashion but never wavered in their game plan of specific defensive matchups and offensive strategy. Being up five points at the half, Sutter never looked back and controlled the game with the knowledge set forth by hometown legend Steve Burgess: “Time n’ Score.” Highlights of the game included Austin Cate’s three-point buzzer beater half-court shot as time expired in the third quarter; Malachi Coleman’s three monster blocks, and countless turnaround jump shots in the key by Hakes, as he finished the game with 26 points. Sutter pulled away by the fourth quarter and won by a score of 52-30.

Wilkin would like to thank the Rolling Hills team for their successful season and their tough man defense. “They are very well coached,” says Wilkin.

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Wilkin would also like to recognize the supportive parents, his stellar assistant coach, Roberto Garza, and the work ethic of the 10 boys that brought another championship banner to Sutter. “Lock in!” team leader Malachi would say and the team rallied around that mantra all season.

“It was a pleasure coaching these young men this year,” Wilkin said. “If this is my last group over my 30-year span of coaching, I can’t think of a better group to close it on. They’re a class act and one I’ll never forget. I am forever their coach and they are forever my players.”

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Champions, from left to right: Jax Kelley, Will Hakes, Easton Bowen, Austin Cate, Cameron Shular, Malachi Coleman, Kellen Garcia, Lucas Choy, Brett Smith, Connor Rehkopf. Coaches left to right: Assistant coach Bobby Garza, Head coach Kyle Wilkin.

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Adam Frick
Author: Adam Frick