The game’s final box score only tells part of Garrett Trotter’s inspiring story.
Sure, it shows his points, his rebounds. It’s always an impressive account. The 6-foot-3 senior is averaging a team-high 21 points and 13 rebounds, making him the go-to-guy for Adna High School’s boys basketball team. With his season-high 35 points, he’s clearly the “get up” to the Pirates offense.
But what the final stats don’t show is his contribution as a leader. He’s also the “let’s go” guy. He’s always the guy who gets it done, whether he’s putting up another jump shot or reading a book, doing his homework.
“He’s a special kid,” said Luke Salme, who is in his first year as Adna’s boys basketball coach. “He’s been everything and more than I hoped.”
And, that’s on and off the court. When Trotter graduates this spring, he’ll already be finished with his sophomore year in college. Since his junior year in high school, Trotter, who has a 3.5 cumulative GPA, has been attending Centralia College full-time through Running Start.
“I don’t ever worry about him,” Salme said. “Yes, he’s a very good basketball player, but just in terms of maturity and how he approaches things, he’s got it.”
That’s good news for the Pirates, a young team that’s coming together as the season approaches the playoffs. After struggling early, they won four of five games and improved to 9-7 overall.
“I think we’re starting to figure out what’s working for us,” Salme said. “In four of our last five games we’ve gotten wins and it’s a pretty tough league. We’re figuring it out at the right time.”
Trotter also has it figured out – on the court and in the classroom. His decision to enroll in college is simple.
“The Running Start program allows me to get two years, almost through college, during my high school years,” said Trotter, who wants to go into engineering. “So, it’s a great opportunity I wanted to take.”
He’s usually the youngest in his class. But they’re all there for the same purpose – to learn.
“I have a few 30-year-olds in my class,” Trotter said. “I like it because it’s a lot more mature atmosphere when you go there. All my classes I have now are at the college, but I still come back and hang out with my friends here.”
Trotter’s “education” began early on the basketball court. He started turning out for basketball when he was in fifth grade. But with two older brothers, Nate and Cole, that “learning” began even earlier. Both his brothers played basketball at Adna.
“Having two older brothers helped me a lot,” Trotter said. “I never played on the same team with them, but they were my mentors.”
While Trotter is option one in Adna’s uptempo offense, Tanner Rigdon is often option two. Averaging 14 points a game, the junior guard is the only other Pirate averaging in double figures.
“Tanner is only a junior so he’ll be huge for us next year, too,” Salme said. “We’re playing a lot of young guys, which is great. We’re getting better.”
It’s been an adjustment for the players and for Coach Salme. This is his first year at Adna. After coaching at Olympia High School for eight years, Salme followed his heart. Salme is a Willapa High School graduate and played basketball against Adna.
“I’m from a small school,” Salme said. “My wife is from a small school. We loved Olympia. We have some great friends in Olympia. And educationally, athletically, it’s a great place. But we both went to high schools that had 100 kids. As our boys were getting older, we talked year by year more about moving. Olympia is not getting any smaller and if the right opportunity presented itself we’d move.”
The experience of living in a small town was the driving interest.
“That was first and foremost,” Salme said. “My boys are now going to school with cousins and friends. The stars aligned. We knew it was the right time.”
It’s been a family affair for the Salmes. His two sons, Braeden, a fourth grader, and Trevin, a first grader, are the ball boys on the Pirates team. They’re at every practice, every game. His wife, Marcy Salme, is the scorekeeper for the games.
“I love it here,” Salme said. “I have special memories of Olympia. It’s a great place with great people. There were great kids in the program that I put time into, but this is awesome.”
The coaching transition has been smooth. The team has adjusted to a new approach and a new offense.
“I like him a lot,” Trotter said about his new coach. “He brings a lot of energy. If I were to have anyone as coach for my last year in high school, I’m glad it’s Salme.”