Saturday marked the end of an era for ACH basketball

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Rodney Harwood

There’s more Isaaks on the way, but Saturday marked the end of an era for Almira/Coulee-Hartline high school basketball.

Maybe it’s family tradition, like when Dallas Isaak marched at the head of the class, leading the Warriors to a 1B state title in football, then into the championship game at the 1B Hardwood Classic at the Spokane Arena his senior season.

This year, the Isaak kin wrapped up some pretty impressive basketball careers on the Spokane Arena floor. Gabi Isaak finished with 19 rebounds and 22 points in the final high school basketball game of her career, leading the Warriors to a fifth-place finish at the Hardwood Classic. Her reign as a four-year starter was special in that she was part of the Colton killers, who ended the longest 1B state championship winning streak (8) in the 2017 semifinals. She was in the big city, under the bright lights when the Warriors played for a state championship.

Like Gabi, Maguire Isaak is a four-year player and was the sixth man coming off the bench for the 2016 team that went 25-0 into the championship game where they finished second to Neah Bay. He was a part of ACH teams that played for two state championships and finished third and fifth. Maguire played his final basketball game Saturday afternoon at the Spokane Arena.

Maguire was 3 of 9 from 3-point range to finish with 15 points against a swarming Muckleshoot Tribal defense that was just brutal. He had three blocks, two steals and three rebounds, playing one more time on Saturday afternoon in the Spokane Arena.

The thing I most enjoy about the Coulee Kids is their humility and sense of direction, meaning that if hard work doesn’t get you there, it’s not meant to happen.

I sat in the locker room with seniors Gage Burchill, Hayden Loomis and Maguire after their loss to Muckleshoot Tribal. It wasn’t quite as brutal as going unbeaten into the (2016) championship game and not getting to the top of the podium. But they did want to go out with the third-place trophy. There was no tears, just a bunch of good friends appreciative of the chance to play on the arena floor one more time.

“I have a lot of great memories of this place, but mostly it’s the people that have been here with me that matter,” he said. “There’s been a lot of great guys play for us every year and to play here every year on Saturday says a lot for the guys around me.”

I didn’t get a chance to talk with Gabi about her final high school basketball game, but I have a feeling she’s of the same school of thought. Championships are cool, but making the journey with good friends is what life’s all about.

It’s been a standing joke between Maguire and I, at the end of the day I always ask him who’s better him or Dallas? He always slides into that Dallas was better line, because he’s never had the need to blow his own horn.

But you know what I think?

I think Gabi’s the best shooter in the family and I would love to see a game of H-O-R-S-E out back just to prove my point.

Rodney Hawood is a sports writer for the Columbia Basin Herald and can be reached at

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