GSL: No team suffered a bigger loss in terms of an injury to a returning player than Shadle Park with senior Kionte Brown, who averaged 13.7 points last year. Coach Tim Gaebe already was facing a difficult task of replacing three-year starter Brett Boese. Compounding matters is a potential starter, junior guard Kyle Knudsen, is out until mid-December with a broken ankle. Before losing Brown, Gaebe thought his team could challenge for an upper-division finish. Still, he likes the nucleus of his team. “We’re long and have the ability to fly around,” he said. … Besides returning league MVP Brett Bailey, U-Hi has back two role players in seniors Austin Flynn and Joseph Carrieres. But coach Garrick Phillips has high hopes with a nucleus off a 17-3 junior varsity team filling most of the spots. “It’s a nice group to blend with the returners,” Phillips said. … CV returns two starters in Austin Rehkow and Adam Chamberlain. What will be difficult to replace for the Bears is seven seniors who were the heart and soul of the team that came within a whisker of capturing a state title. “We have an athletic team with good ball handlers and shooters,” coach Rick Sloan said. “We are a very young team with only two seniors so the development of our underclassmen is critical to our success.” … Rogers brings back three starters led by Carson Murray and Amaujae Daniels. “We’ll compete every night and be right there with everybody,” coach Tim Wood said. … Mead returns two starters, Gunnar Kayser and Thomas Kautzman, off a 4-16 team. The Panthers could be the mystery team. They’ll certainly have a roster full of athletes. “We should more closely resemble some of the past Mead teams that could press and push the tempo,” coach Glenn Williams said. … North Central returns two starters off a 3-18 team. “It’s a hard-working group,” coach Jay Webber said. “We look to improve throughout the season and be a 3A contender at the end.” … Ferris returns one starter, Jeff Hahn, one of two seniors, to go with eight juniors and two sophomores. “We are very young,” coach Don Van Lierop said. “We have good chemistry and the new players have high basketball IQs.” … Mt. Spokane has three starters and five other lettermen back off a 5-17 team. “We have good overall athleticism, good shooters and a strong team work ethic,” second-year coach Dan Smith said. … G-Prep may have just one starter back – senior Jacob Groh – but it returns five other lettermen who had significant playing time. “They play hard and play for each other,” coach Matty McIntyre said. “We should have a balanced attack with opposing teams not being able to key on just one player.”
GNL: Pullman was picked as league favorite by the coaches. The Greyhounds return two starters in Corey Langerveld and Dave Ungerer. What the GNL coaches didn’t know is another starter – Brady Barrett, a second-team all-league pick last year, moved to Utah. “We have a very balanced team with good shooters and a good inside game,” coach Craig Brantner said. … West Valley has five lettermen to package around its lone returning starter, junior Jake Love. “We are old yet inexperienced,” coach Jay Humphrey said. “We hope to settle into a rotation by league play. These kids are used to winning so hopefully we’ll figure out a way to experience that once again come playoff time.” … East Valley brings back three starters led by JT Phelan. “We look to improve on last year’s finish,” coach Drew Vanderpool said. … Colville returns to the league and will feature one of the best players in the conference with the 6-9 Matt Hubbard. “We don’t know where we stack up with the league,” coach John Foulkes said. “We know all the teams in this league are solid and will be tough every night.” … Clarkston returns two starters and four other lettermen. “We have a solid group of returning players with talented newcomers off of the (junior varsity) team,” coach Justin Jones said. “We’re still a young team. Our goal is to grow and improve each week through nonconference and hopefully be able to compete in a tough GNL the second half of the season.” … Cheney brings back one starter in Eric Igbinoba. Coach Joel Soter believes his team will be physical with plenty of scoring ability.
NEA: Chewelah brings back three starters – Derek Smith, Ben Johnstone and Brandon Smith, all seniors. But coach Rocky Verbeck says the Cougars lack a post presence. “We will need to define our roles for us to be successful,” Verbeck said. “We have nine seniors who all want to compete for a spot.” … Riverside will look to Tyler Axtell, a starter at point guard as a freshman last year, to be its leader. He’s the lone returning starter. “If we can grow up early we can be a real pain to play against,” coach KC Ahrens said. … Lakeside brings back Conner Moffat and Cody Watkins. “We have a large group of young, enthusiastic players that are a joy to coach,” coach John Edwards said. … Steven Bryant takes over at Newport. Two starters return in Jeron Konkright and Ryan Rapp. “We could potentially surprise some people,” Bryant said.
NE 2B: St. George’s brings back all its starters – Erik Muelheims, Mark Kenney, Will Tender, Dexter Sienko and Bruce Culbertson. “We have many pieces of the puzzle but need to have players come off the bench and help us win games,” coach Ryan Peplinski said. “I think we have the players to compete at a high level. This has traditionally been the best league in the state so it is important that we stay healthy and hungry.” … Springdale also returns five starters – Kyle Cummings, Chase Fitzgerald, Josh Anderson, Callan Ward and David Buck. … Defending state champion Colfax brings back one starter, but he’s a good one. Senior Brandon Gfeller, the State 2B Player of the Year, has signed with the University of Montana. “We are extremely young this year, but we have the ability to improve and be a tough team to beat at the end of the year,” coach Reece Jenkin said. … Northwest Christian returns three starters – Dakota Winward, Austin Friedly and Nick Kiourkas. The Crusaders, who graduated 6-8 Rueben Clark and 6-6 Kwinn Hansen, will be much shorter. They’ll rely on speed, depth and playoff experience.
NE 1B North: Northport brings back five starters, all seniors, led by Jeremiah Johnson and Josh Konkler. … Selkirk returns two starters – Avery Miller and Dominic Cain, a sophomore point guard. “Although we’re young we should be competitive,” coach Kelly Cain said.
NE 1B South: Wellpinit returns three starters – AJ Kiefer, Brody Ford and James Best to go with five other letter-winners. Coach Billy Flett likes his team’s length and speed. “We will be battle-tested playing in the Northeast 1B South,” Flett said. … Odessa-Harrington brings back much experience with three starters – Cade Weber, Justin Hunt and Stetson Sanford – and eight other lettermen. “With only one senior graduating the nucleus of the team is back,” coach Travis Schuh said. “Once league games begin, we should be very competitive.” … Wilbur- Creston also returns three starters, led by Colton Magers and Trystan Rosman, but coach Jason Maioho said his team will be young.
SE 1B: LaCrosse- Washtucna returns four starters – Darcy Stamper, Matt Stubbs, Justin Wargo and Jed Zimmer. “We expect to compete and be in the top third of the league,” coach Mike Jones said. “We’re looking to build off a strong finish at district.”