Boys basketball small school preview

Jack Millikin, Herald staff writerJanuary 8, 2013 

West Valley likes the natural fit of the local rivalries in the CWAC. And why shouldn’t they? They are undefeated in league play so far. With returning All-CBBN 3A players Austin Strock and Jalen Peake, there are few teams who can contend with the Rams’ athleticism and physicality. ... Wapato returned one of the top scorers in the league in Shawn Craig, a first-team all-CWAC pick last season. ... Grandview guard Isaiah Ruiz is the only other returning all-CWAC first-teamer. He should anchor the Greyhounds hopes of a deep playoff run. ... Prosser’s Kyle Killian is a strong rebounder and scorer, but Mason Schutt has been one of the biggest surprises for the Mustangs so far, averaging double figures in both categories. ... Othello took a devastating hit with the loss of G David Garza to a knee injury in football. But the Huskies will get a boost from Trevor Walker and Conor Weise despite a lack of experience. ... Toppenish could go from first to worst despite the return of all-CWAC second-teamer Randy Isadore. The Wildcats have just one win through their first 10 games. ... East Valley should scrap its way into a district playoff spot.
Defending league champ Kiona-Benton and SCAC East coach of the year Jack Rose will have a strong backbone in F Mick Phelps and G Cristian Aguilar, both first-team selections. They’re the favorites to defend the title. ... Connell’s physical play resulted in some unwanted attention last season. This year, they’re getting positive results with some solid fundamentals. They’re undefeated through three league games so far. ... Wahluke has been a nice surprise so far, getting some strong guard play from Oscar Onofre. ... Columbia-Burbank got a new coach in Todd Schumacher. He inherited one of the top returning scorers in the league in Chris Ryckman. Jesse Romm has been providing rebounding and defensive help. ... River View returned three starters in Cody Hand, Kody Bartlett and Terran Brown. Panthers coach Roger Sonderland needs his team to shoot well to earn a deep playoff run. ... Warden graduated 80 percent of its scoring from last year but returning starter Garritt Marks should provide close to a double-double every night. ... Royal returned first-team all-SCAC East selection Kent Christensen but hasn’t been able to find a rhythm yet. The Knights are winless through their first three league games.
Southeast 2B
Walla Walla Valley Academy is off to a great start at 9-0 this season behind a pair of all-league first team returnees, Matt Moore and Daniel Lomeland. ... Tri-Cities Prep returns a pair of anchors in Bailey Rivas and Evan Whitsett. Jared Versteeg has provided some big games in the post as well. ... Dayton, which finished sixth at state last year, had a rough nonleague schedule but could make some noise now that league play has begun. ... Asotin returns Nathan Shiebe is a returning first-team selection who can guide the team back to districts. ... Waitsburg-Prescott reached state last year but is off to a slow start at 2-3. ... DeSales gained valuable experience last year, which could translate to a few more wins. Southeast 1B preview Lacrosse-Washtucna is one of the big surprises in the state so far, starting out 9-0 after barely making the district playoffs last year. Darcy Stamper and Jed Zimmer anchor the team’s hopes. ... Pomeroy shoudl grab the No. 2 seed, while Colton and Garfield-Palouse should fight it out for the 3-4 spots. ... Liberty Christian will have to find someone to step up for graduated Jake Siefken, one of the best players ever to put on the red, white and blue, but Mike Olson is a fine leader who proved his mettle while leading the Pats to a state football championship. ... Touchet is a scrappy team that could contend for a playoff spot.

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