True, football is tough to compare with basketball. The ball is shaped differently. One is played indoors, the other almost exclusively outdoors. But you watch. Waitsburg-Prescott's football title could give them the championship swagger it needs to repeat on the hardwood.
Plus, the Cardinals return Zach Bartlow (15.3), one of the league's top returning scorers.
But W-P must stay on its game, because Asotin will again challenge for the SE 2B title.
For the first time in 12 seasons, there will be a new coach on the sideline at Liberty Christian after Terry Watson stepped down. New coach Will Keck will have a strong lineup in his first year. Four-year starting guard Jake Siefken (20.9), who led the league in scoring last season, returns to lead a potent backcourt that includes Mike Olson and senior Tyler Koglin.
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Jameson Pederson returns to anchor Tri-Cities Prep as one of the top big men in the league. Junior guard Evan Whitsett leads the backcourt.
First-year coach Adam Strom takes over at Hermiston, where he will inherit a young but talented team led by G Alex Ortiz.
Predicted finish: 2B -- Waitsburg-Prescott, Asotin, Dayton, Liberty Christian, Walla Walla Valley Academy, Tri-Cities Prep, DeSales. 1B -- Rosalia, Colton, St. John-Endicott, Touchet, Garfield-Palouse, Pomeroy, Lacrosse-Washtucna, Tekoa-Oakesdale.
Liberty Christian Patriots
Coach: Will Keck (first year).
Last state trip: 2010.
Returning players: G Tyler Koglin, sr., 5-7; G Mike Olson, jr., 5-10; G Jake Siefken, sr., 5-10; F Evan Crawford, sr., 6-0; G Conner Davis, sr., 5-10; G Tyler Morris, jr., 5-11.
Stepping up: G Brandon Peterson, jr., 5-10; G/F Conner Davis, sr., 5-10; G Jared Hoey, jr., 5-11; F Reace Howard, jr., 6-0; F Corbin Steele, jr., 6-2; F Timmy Koglin, jr., 5-10.
Tri-Cities Prep Jaguars
Coach: Joe Perez (13th year).
Last state trip: 2009.
Returning players: F Kevin Daly, jr., 6-3; G Mateo Ledesma, jr., 6-0; P Jameson Pederson, sr., 6-5; G Bailey Rivas, jr., 6-0; G Cole Scott, sr., 5-10; F Briar Westerfield, jr., 6-3; G Evan Whitsett, jr., 5-9.
Stepping up: G Joseph Loftus, soph., 5-11; ; G Anthony Perez, fr., 5-7P Brady Ver Steeg, soph., 6-5.
Coach: Adam Strom (first year).
Last state trip: 2010.
Returning players: G/F Alex Ortiz, soph., 6-2; G Jordan Turner, jr., 6-0.
Stepping up: G Joseph Burns, jr., 5-10; G Nolan Briscoe, sr., 6-0; G Ramon Contreras, soph., 5-8; G Jacob Flyg, soph., 5-11; F Nychal Gritz, 6-1; G Alonso Ortiz, jr., 6-1; G Michael Pederson, sr., 6-0; P Austin Phipps, soph., 6-4; G Cole Schwirse soph., 6-0.