Sports


Hazing Hardens Servine ‘Fan Favorite’ Leads Saxons To State

UNPUBLISHED CORRECTION: The name of football player Jeremey Williams is misspelled in this story. The correct spelling was confirmed by his mother.

One of the things that stood out in a balanced Greater Spokane League boys basketball season was a picture-perfect jump shot.

Tommy Servine, deep on the wing, going straight up, flicking his wrist and delivering 3 points for the Ferris Saxons.

And of all the things Ferris foes didn’t want to see the second week of March, Servine shooting his jumper was it.

Yet the lone survivor is Ferris with Servine’s deadly, NBA-depth jumper.

That allows Servine the last laugh on rivals, whose fans seemed to attend games as much to taunt the supremely confident 6-foot-3 senior as cheer on their own team.

Not that Servine is gloating. He is too concerned with the boys State 4A tournament, which only has one entrant from the GSL, to look back.

The Saxons (20-5) face second-ranked Rogers of Puyallup (22-3) at noon Wednesday in the Kingdome.

“I like (the taunts). I use it as motivation,” Servine said. “They might think it bothers me or whatever, but it doesn’t bother me at all. At least they’re not doing it to my teammates. I know I can handle it.”

Getting hung up on Servine’s manner overlooks a talent that helped him make the state all-tournament first team a year ago when the Saxons finished third.

“I think that he comes across, with his body language, as being a different person than I see every day in practice,” Ferris coach Wayne Gilman said. “I don’t see the same things every day that maybe fans notice at game time.”

Because of that, Gilman doesn’t really appreciate the abuse Servine has received.

“I think it has been a very difficult season in that respect,” Gilman said. “Some of the fans have been, I think, quite far beyond the line of appropriate razzing. I’m sure that our fans have done similar things, but it’s definitely been apparent to me many of the opposing students cross the line as far as Tommy (goes). He attracts some of that with his demeanor, and I think he has handled it, but I don’t think it has been easy.”

This wasn’t going to be an easy season for Servine anyway. He’s the only returning starter from that 25-3 team and the lone senior starter this season.

The results were mixed. He started slowly because of injuries and barely averaged 10 points a game. However, he was solid in the Saxons’ last two games when a loss to rivals Central Valley or Gonzaga Prep would have ended their season. That was reminiscent of the state tournament, when his best game lifted the Saxons to third over a Prairie team that featured two Division I players.

“He definitely had a good (state) tournament; he stepped his game up,” Gilman said. “He had a very good game against CV;, that’s the type of game we’re hoping to get the next four games.”

Of course, Servine is confident he can do that.

“I think the difference between the GSL and state is that they key on me in the GSL,” he said. “I don’t think they’ll do that at state. They’ll have to watch all of us. I think we can be the best team in the state if we get going; if we get in our rhythm.”

He is ready to step up on the biggest stage.

“(This year) wasn’t my best, scoring-wise, but as far as trying to be a leader, it was my best,” he said. “That’s what I was trying to do this year. … I don’t think (there was pressure). I’m playing with a bunch of guys who can play. Age doesn’t mean anything. Those guys can play.”

The numbers bear him out.

Andre Atkins (12.2), Chris Watts (12.1) and Bradl Hodl (11.2) are scoring in double figures and Jeremy Williams (9.0) is close.

“I think the strongest part of my game is passing, trying to find the open guy,” Servine said. “I’d much rather make an assist than points.”

Although there were times he tried to do too much to carry the team, Gilman said, his leadership has been invaluable.

“First of all, Tommy is a thinking player who, for the most part, really understands the game quite well,” Gilman said. “He is able to analyze situations and come up with good ideas that can be helpful to the team.”

Junior college is the next step for Servine, because of grades, but Gilman believes he can go further.

“He’s a good sized guard, has the ability to handle the ball well and, although his shooting hasn’t been as high-percentage this year as we hoped it would be, he still has an excellent shooting touch,” he said. “Some would question the quickness of his first step. He certainly has the ability to create a shot and maybe an area that is overlooked is he has the ability to really step up and make big plays defensively.”

The big stage is waiting.

, DataTimesILLUSTRATION: Color Photo

MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: GSL AT STATE Girls: Central Valley vs. Prairie, noon Ferris vs. Federal Way, 8 p.m. Boys: Ferris vs. Rogers (Puyallup), noon

First-round play begins Wednesday at the Kingdome.

This sidebar appeared with the story: GSL AT STATE Girls: Central Valley vs. Prairie, noon Ferris vs. Federal Way, 8 p.m. Boys: Ferris vs. Rogers (Puyallup), noon

First-round play begins Wednesday at the Kingdome.


 
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