After down year, Falcon boys hoops seniors share their struggles

Zach Comfort and Sam Lee were co-captains on the Falcon boys basketball team this year. They tried to keep their teammates’ morale high despite a 4-10 Cascade Conference record and a frustrating 1-3 start.  - Ben Watanabe / The Record
Zach Comfort and Sam Lee were co-captains on the Falcon boys basketball team this year. They tried to keep their teammates’ morale high despite a 4-10 Cascade Conference record and a frustrating 1-3 start.
— image credit: Ben Watanabe / The Record

Senior moments: Highs and lows for Falcon tandem

South Whidbey’s two seniors from the boys basketball team took some time to reflect on the past season, and their careers.

Zach Comfort, the 6-foot-8 forward, was a reserve the past two seasons before becoming the Falcons’ go-to scorer this year.

Sam Lee, a 5-foot-10 point guard, spent most of his career as a backup. When he did enter games, his job was to score rather than pass. He found a solid mix this year after a slow start when the team turned the ball over about 20 times per game to start the season.

This year, Comfort averaged 15.6 points, 8.9 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 4.3 blocks. The Falcons’ second-leading scorer was Lee with 10.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 6.2 assists and 3.6 steals.

What went wrong this year?

Zach Comfort: We didn’t reach our potential and didn’t start playing together until the end.

Sam Lee: We most surely had an enormous lack of confidence going into this season. I would say that we simply were not ready to play to our fullest potential, and that we may have settled for being, at best, an average team sometimes. Turnovers were the bane to our success, plain and simple.

What went well?

Comfort: We ended on a high note and left the team for next year with positive attitudes.

Lee: We learned a ton, not only about the game of basketball but about how to face adversity as an entire group. I couldn’t be more proud of those younger guys stepping up to face a challenge head on.  When it comes to competing and fighting until the end, those guys deserve all the credit. I have faith they will be a tough team to beat next year.

How has your play improved over your Falcon career?

Comfort: My play improved each year, and then jumped in-between junior and senior year.

Lee: I think I can now have the confidence to say I am a true point guard. Not only that, I believe I’m a basketball player. Instead of being the guy who is athletic enough to play the sport, I have become an all-around threat in the passing and scoring game. I am very pleased with my progression as a player.

What is your go-to move?

Comfort: The turn-around jump shot from 5-6 feet away.

Lee: Pull-up J (jump shot).

What was your favorite game?

Comfort: My favorite was Archbishop Murphy.

Lee: Easy — beating Archbishop on our home floor, hands down.

What is the most memorable moment from your career?

Comfort: Every time I get a block it feels like the best moment of my career.

Lee: My sophomore year when Zach Smith of Archbishop had three free throws to send it to overtime with no time on the clock. (He) makes the first two and the third rimmed out. Everyone in that gym was on the floor. Even my family stormed the court.

Who is the funniest person on the team?

Comfort: Sam Lee.

Lee: Probably me.

How did you see yourself as a team leader?

Comfort: Like a tall Napoleon Bonaparte.

Lee: I saw myself as more of a person who led through actions and not so much verbally. Leading is leading, and if I’m tagged as one, I’ll do my best to follow through.

Best advice you’ve heard:

Comfort: Play like you’re tall.

Lee: Play within yourself, under control and with intent — Coach Scott Collins, freshman year.

Which player was the most difficult to defend?

Comfort: Hands down, Zach Gordon (AMHS).

Lee: Zach Taylor (Cedarcrest).

What was your favorite or most memorable moment with Coach Pope?

Comfort: When I had to run an entire practice for missing a day of school, and then I had to play against Zach Gordon the next day.

Lee: Him doing snow angels on the floor with 30 seconds left on the clock in the final game at Seaside last year — classic Coach Pope.

Down by two points, who should have taken the final shot?

Comfort: I probably would have taken a three.

Lee: Whoever is the most confident, and whoever we all trust to make it. If I were the coach, I’d give it to Zach.

What happened to an in-game dunk?

Comfort: I don’t know. Sam never gave me an alley-oop.

Lee: That is Zach’s problem, ask him. I’m still mad about it.

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