Sports

FW's Axton earns third consecutive All-Big Sky honor

By CASEY OLSON

The Mirror

Eastern Washington University senior Marc Axton became just the 18th player in the 42-year history of Big Sky Conference men’s basketball to earn all-league honors three times when the squad was announced Wednesday.

The 6-foot-7 forward is from Federal Way and a 2001 graduate of Tacoma’s Foss High School.

“He deserves it,” said EWU head coach Mike Burns. “Just look at the great players who have played in this league for the past 42 years. For Marc to be included with the elite of the elite speaks volumes about the phenomenal basketball career he has had here. He’ll go down as one of the greatest players ever to play here at Eastern Washington University, and deservedly so. He’s been a great player, a great student, a great teammate and above all, a great person. I can’t think of anybody more deserving.”

Axton and his teammates travel to Missoula today for a first-round game in the Big Sky Conference Tournament against the University of Montana, which includes Federal Way High School grad Virgil Matthews (2.6 points, 1.8 rebounds a game).

“It feels great,” said Axton, whose father, Mike, is a pastor at Federal Way’s Brooklake Community Church. “I’m definitely happy, but right now we’re trying to focus on Montana and get a win. It’s a cool honor.”

Axton is averaging 16.4 points through 27 games this season. He is currently fourth in the Big Sky Conference in scoring and has been Eastern’s leading scorer in 16 of 27 games. He also ranks among the league leaders in assists (2.4 per game) and 3-point shooting (72-of-201 for 35.8 percent).

He has helped lead Eastern to 60 victories in four seasons, including a 35-23 record in the Big Sky. Eastern advanced to the NCAA Tournament last year and the NIT Tournament two years ago, and in his first three years in the program the Eagles advanced to the championship game of the Big Sky Tournament.

Eastern, who lost to Oklahoma State in the first round of the 2004 NCAA Tournament, finished the regular season in sixth place in the Big Sky with a 5-9 record and 8-19 overall. Matthews' Montana team was the third-place team at 9-5 and 15-12 overall.

Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565, sports@fedwaymirror.com

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