Here is a team-by-team overview of the 2009-2010 Southeast 2B/1B boys basketball season:
Liberty Christian should again be the cream of the crop, despite no returning starters off last year's 2B district champion. However, several players have varsity experience and are ready to step into the mix. Look for F Cody Brockman to have a strong year offensively.
"We think we're good enough to win league," said Patriots coach Terry Watson, who lost three all-league players, including league MVP Mark Wilson. "They're close-knit, and they work hard."
Waitsburg-Prescott is expected to challenge for the league title with three returning starters amid a plethora of varsity experience.
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Tri-Cities Prep, coming off its first-ever 1B state basketball title -- and the 1B football title to match -- is counting on a strong core of returning starters to propel the Jaguars back to state. G Will Hoppes and F Antonio Ledesma should give the team the leadership it needs to get there.
"I always have high expectations. We're just going to take it one game at a time," said Prep coach Joe Perez. "We're going to be similar (in scoring balance) to last year, except we have more height than past years."
Walla Walla Valley Academy brings back G Michael Hanson, the only returning all-league first-teamer, and also adds DeSales transfer Marshall Failing -- the league's top returning scorer (16.8) -- to the mix.
Dayton may have to wait until next year for a strong playoff run, but its core of young talent is impressive behind G Garret Turner. DeSales lost Failing and will be without G Pat Richard for two weeks while he recovers from a concussion. But the Irish should have enough scoring punch to get by until then.
Touchet, led by guards Marshall Bylerley and Jacob Hodnefield, will be stronger but might be left out of the playoff mix. It won just one league game last season.