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FILE PHOTO — The Yelm varsity boys basketball team rally Friday night before their home game against the Bremerton Knights in early December. 

The Yelm boys basketball team landed its first league win of the year in style, upending the formerly No. 1 Gig Harbor Tides 75-57 at home to earn a major upset in the South Sound Conference.

The Tides were undefeated in the conference going into the game Friday, Jan. 10, against the Tornados (1-5, 5-7 overall). All season long, Yelm has struggled to finish out games, but the team, which includes nine seniors, didn’t let up Friday.

Head Coach Sterling Carter said he sees the win as evidence that his boys have woken up and are motivated to bring a final push for districts going into the final month of play. 

“It’s just now that they’re realizing that time is ticking and if they want to make the playoffs they have to act now … They have to continue to play the right way,” Carter said. 

Currently at 5-7 overall, Yelm is no stranger to winning, at least outside of their league. 

Carter said he believes his team will still have a chance at the playoffs.

After hosting Capital at home on Wednesday, Jan. 15, the Tornados begin their lap back around against teams they’ve already faced off against. That includes North Thurston and Shelton — two teams they’ve lost to by as little as 1 point. 

“Those are teams I feel we have a good chance of getting payback to,” Carter said. 

Throughout the season, Carter said his boys have become more dialed into the game and are feeling more confident. 

Since Carter came on staff nearly two years ago, the boys basketball program has made incremental steps to success that have left many in the program wanting more. 

“They’re starting to understand what we’re asking them and understanding that if they do that, it’ll benefit them in the long run,” Carter said, noting the win against Gig Harbor. “That was a big accomplishment. Not only for me and the team, but for the school.”

Up against the Tides, Yelm’s Isaac Williams led his team in scoring with 29 points. The junior point guard was 6-for-9 from beyond the arch, tallying three steals, six blocks and four assists. 

Senior small forward James Wildish also had a good night against Gig Harbor. He tallied 18 points and went 4-for-5 on 3-pointers. 

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