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Originally published Thursday, March 12, 2009 at 8:03 PM

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3A Boys Notebook | Living in a gym a plus for Meadowdale guard

Ever since he was a 5-year-old cheering for his sisters Kristen and Kellie at Meadowdale High School games, Roger O'Neill's life has been...

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TACOMA — Ever since he was a 5-year-old cheering for his sisters Kristen and Kellie at Meadowdale High School games, Roger O'Neill's life has been spent in high-school gyms.

Kristen played for the University of Washington and Seattle Storm, and Kellie was a Husky, too. Both played in the state tournament.

And for the second consecutive year, O'Neill is playing at state. He's the leading scorer for Meadowdale, which advanced to today's quarterfinals.

"It seemed like every day I was in the gym, and I loved it," O'Neill said. "Some kids have older siblings playing sports, and they're around it so much, they grow up to hate it. But I loved every minute of it."

O'Neill said he rarely takes a day off from practicing.

"I feel like a day you're not in the gym ... is like a wasted day," he said.

Until last summer, O'Neill considered himself better at baseball. But since moving from point guard to shooting guard, he is averaging 16.9 points and plans to play next season for Saint Martin's of Lacey.

Safe arrival

When Bellevue guard Cam Warren stepped on the bus bound for Tacoma on Wednesday, he had a request for the driver.

"Please drive slow."

Warren was one of two Wolverines basketball players who were on the football bus last November when it overturned on the drive to the Tacoma Dome for a playoff game.

Miraculously, no players were seriously hurt in the accident. Warren said he told the story of the football crash to the basketball team during the ride, and he sighed when the bus got past the crash site.

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Notes

• Enumclaw cheerleaders received a louder halftime ovation from O'Dea students than from Hornets fans. "We don't see those every day!" exclaimed one student from the all-boys Seattle school.

• Seattle Prep beat Lakes 87-75 despite a big game from Lancers junior André Winston Jr. "We just thanked our team for holding him to 32," Panthers coach Mike Kelly said.

• Wednesday's combined attendance was announced at 6,523, but didn't include presale tickets. Last year's combined Day 1 total at KeyArena and Edmundson Pavilion was 7,078.

• As the final seconds ticked off in Meadowdale's 70-64 victory, Mavericks fans chanted "Start the ferry!" to their counterparts from North Kitsap of Poulsbo.

• North Kitsap has the most unique team photo in the tournament program. Instead of posing and smiling like most teams, Vikings lined up to form the number "1".

• Five schools sent both their boys and girls teams to state: Meadowdale, Franklin, Seattle Prep, Enumclaw and Shadle Park.

Freelancer Joshua Mayers contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

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