Sunday, June 25, 2017 This Week's Paper

Basketball season fast approaching

// Previewing local high school boys squads

With the basketball season beginning next week, Tacoma Weekly spoke with local high school coaches to get the outlook on key returning players, and who might step into the spotlight this season.


The Tigers will look to junior guard Eric Anderson-Connolly – who averaged nine points, three rebounds and three assists per game last season – to lead the team.

“He kind of does it all. We believe he’s one of the better players in the league,” said Tigers coach David Jones.

Jones will also rely on Patrick Minzel – who averaged 10 points per game and shot 40 percent from the three-point line last year – and senior forward Tyler Stumph. Forwards Corey Glackin-Coley, at 6-foot-4, and Nate Anderson, at 6-5, look to lead the team in the post, and reserve guard Eric Tuttle and forward Taylor Strickland should contribute as well. Jones said the team’s chemistry is at its highest level in some time, with a solid core of juniors.

“I think we could surprise some people this year,” Jones said.

By Jeremy Helling


Size will not be a problem on the hill this year, even with the departure of both Johnny Harbottle and Kyle Foege.

Brian Meikle gives Bellarmine both an inside and outside presence and Sefo Liufau gives the Lions scoring in the paint to go along with his great rebounding ability. But the biggest early season question will be who will replace all-league guard Donald Gaddy. Senior sharpshooting guard David Smith will get the first crack with his long range ability. Junior Isaiah Flynn will start at the other guard spot.

“I expect us to contend this year,” said head coach Bernie Salazar, who has a history of putting good, solid teams together. “Our starters all have extensive experience from last year. That will go a long way in establishing some early confidence.”

By Steve Mullen


Coach Owen Chambers is charged with the task of replacing nine graduated seniors, with junior point guard Michael Rollins the team’s only returning starter.

“It’s going to be a rebuilding year,” Chambers said. “The only way we’ll be successful is if we go out and play hard night-in and night-out on the defensive end.”

Joining Rollins in the backcourt will be guards Rondie Pate and Junior Gillespie, who flash great athleticism in playing multiple sports.

“They’re going to have to be key rebounders and defenders for us this year,” Chambers said.

The Thunderbirds are relatively small, but 6-foot-2 forward Chris Davis will look to shoulder the load in the post. Jared Weaver, the leading scorer for the JV team last year, will add depth in the backcourt.

By Jeremy Helling


The Falcons return a lot of experience, highlighted by Narrows League first-team forward Dezmyn Trent – who averaged 16 points per game last season – and junior first-team guard Marcus Chambers.

“He’s one of the better athletes in the area,” said Falcons coach Mike Cocke of Chambers. “He does a lot of the things we need from the backcourt.”

Cocke added that Trent and Dontiea Hankins, who scored nine points per game last year, give Foss a good physical presence up front.

Guards Sean Williams and Noah Hunthausen and forward Tevin Richmond – who like Trent stands at 6-foot-4 – provide even more depth for the Falcons as they look to improve on last year’s state tournament appearance.

“(Now) we have a better feeling of what it takes to be successful and move on,” Cocke said.

By Jeremy Helling


With the departure of Terrell Lewis, Geno Horsley, and league MVP Jordan Russell, one would think Lincoln’s fortunes would be down this year. Not so.

“We’ll be a solid club but we’ll have to develop bench strength real early,” said head coach Aubrey Shelton.

Returning are front court players Tre’Shaun Lexing and Isaac Barsh to go along with back court players Quadelle Satterwhite, who Shelton calls his “best on-the-ball defender,” and last year’s sixth man, Derek Holliday.

Shelton also likes the chances of junior forward Damian Harmon and senior guard Aarmond Davis to contribute off the bench for the Abes, with both players having an outside chance of starting. “This will be a tough division with Foss getting the early nod as league favorite,” said Shelton. “Capital and Timberline will be real tough and Wilson will be a sleeper too.”

By Steve Mullen


The strength of the Rams will be in the back court with Phoenix Waters, who coach Dave Alwert calls “the best point guard in the league,” and silky smooth left hander Kevin Johnson with his cat-quick moves to the hoop or his ability to pull up and drain a three-pointer.

One of the early surprises at practice is junior forward Morgan Harpel, who at 6-foot-4 will give Wilson some much-needed bench strength. Front court scoring will be necessary for the Rams this year and junior Jaden Martin will get the opportunity to provide scoring.

“Our success will depend on our guard play being great and finding some bodies to give us some scoring punch up front, as the whole 3A league will be very tough this year,” Alwert said.

By Steve Mullen


Coming off of a tough season, the Crusaders return all five starters and will look to attack from the perimeter. Point guard Brandon Stoehr and shooting guard Dayton Pascua, who averaged 10 points per game last year and shot 40 percent from three-point range, will lead the team from the backcourt.

“They’re both basketball gym rats,” said Tacoma Baptist coach Eric Sivertson. “Brandon is a very patient smart basketball player. He’s great at penetrating and kicking. Dayton is a really good shooter.”

Sivertson will often look to run the offense through 6-foot-2 forward Taylor Martindale, who along with Scott Peterson will provide size up front. Drew Jordan brings versatility for the Crusaders and reserve forward Dalton Wintersole, at 6-foot-3, adds height and depth.

“We can’t just return five guys and expect to be better,” Sivertson said. “Everybody on the team’s got to improve.”

By Jeremy Helling


The Eagles will look to all-league guard Jordan King, who is recovering from a football injury and looks to return after Christmas, to lead the team.

“He’s our go-to guy,” said head coach Mark Lovelady of King, who averaged 12.1 points per game last year. “Great three-point shot, he can attack the rim, can dunk.”

Junior center Karson Kuehner, at 6-foot-3, and point guard Charles Davis also return to lead the offense, which averaged 70 points per game last season.

Lovelady said guard Dylan Huber and 6-2 senior Stefan Johansen will be key to the defense, while 6-4 sharpshooter Tyler Bogue and 6-5 forward Jake Comfort add size up front.

“We’re still going to run an up-tempo game,” said Lovelady, whose team is coming off a playoff run and a 15-6 record. “We're hoping to go a bit farther this year.”

By Jeremy Helling