Taking a closer look at the Wesco, SPSL Northwest, SPSL Northeast, SPSL South and KingCo, Cascade, Metro and Seamount leagues as the 2015-16 boys basketball season gets underway.
Wesco: Already, Cascade is showing it may be ready to fulfill the promise of its preseason hype. With transfer Drew Magaoay scoring 19 points a game, to go with Isaiah Gotell’s 23.5 points, the Bruins won their first four games of the season. Returning starter Kevin Villalobos gives Mariner a potent start, and Villalobos is scoring 16 points a game early on, while teammate Isiah Clark has added 15 points each night. Kamiak, in getting off to a 2-1 start, has gotten 17.5 points a game from Carson Tuttle while Gavin Patrick has pitched in 14.5 points and 18 rebounds. And don’t count out Snohomish with Kobe McDaniel and Kyle Sandifer each scoring in double figures.
SPSL Northwest: Federal Way is the big kid on the block here. The defending 4A champs have a bona fide star in 6-10 power forward Jalen McDaniels, offensive punch from Ferron Flavors and senior leadership from D’Jimon and Christian Jones. Malcom Cola, a 6-6 junior post, plays big inside and the Eagles even start a freshman at the point in Jalen Womack. Todd Beamer is expected to contend for a playoff berth behind point guard Gio Jackson. Senior post Phillip Robbinson has shown an explosiveness at the rim for the Titans. Jefferson may be positioned for a solid run in 2015-16 behind Darius Anderson and his 18.2 points a game.
SPSL Northeast:Rayvaughn Bolton poured in 29 points for Kentwood in its season-opening victory. The Conquerors come into the year as the favorites in the division. Kentridge will have something to say about the division winner, however. Brother combo Joran and Elijah Ticeson is leading the way early for the Chargers, averaging 13 and 12 points a game.
SPSL South: The Curtis Vikings have been and are expected again to be a contender in 4A, not just in the SPSL but come the postseason. Early on this season, the Puyallup Vikings are showing signs they may be ready to make a run behind Deven Neff, who is scoring 21.5 points a game. Puyallup hasn’t been to the state tournament since 2011 and hasn’t placed at state since 1989. But the Vikings began the year 4-0.
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Kingco: The season is young, but several teams already have started to show the ability to separate themselves – and it’s not quite Christmas. It was Issaquah’s league a year ago, and the Eagles are poised to be there again behind Trevon Ary-Turner and his 22.5 points a game. Ary-Turner will get help from Scott Kellum (13.5 points) and others. Several other squads are off to good starts, though, as well. Woodinville lost a two-point game to Issaquah, but Tony Miller already is scoring 23.8 points a game and averaging 16 rebounds. Inglemoor won its first three games of the year as Chinedu Ugokwoli dished out an average of nine assists and grabbed nine rebounds a game, while Jalen Woodley and Jaxson Peay are scoring 14 points each night. The league’s top scorer early has come from Mount Si – Danny Tomson at 28 points a game, along with nine assists a night – but the Wildcats haven’t won much.
Cascade Conference: King’s is the defending 1A state champ and brings back junior Corey Kispert, who’s already got an offer from Gonzaga, along with guard Andrew Ayers. Cedarcrest returns maybe the most dynamic upperclassman in the league in senior Jordan Corpus. Oh, and Archbishop Murphy just happens to have all-league selections from a year ago, Josh Parafina and Connor Longoria, in the fold again. Should make for an interesting run through this competitive conference.
Wesco South: It appears the South may be up for grabs. Glacier Peak and 2A Shorecrest, despite the transfer of Drew Magaoay to 4A Cascade, each got off to 3-0 starts this season. But don’t rest on Mountlake Terrace or Edmonds-Woodway. Both also won three of its first four games of the 2015-16 season. Glacier Peak has a star in the making with Zach Hatch. Brock Davis leads a balanced attack at Mountlake Terrace at 12 points a game while Malcom Rozier-Butler has stepped up and is averaging 17.2 points a game early on for the Highlanders.
Wesco North: Stanwood returns 10 of the 12 players that helped the Spartans advance to the 3A regionals last season, though the two were seniors Kartsen Chaplik and Skout Roberson, who led the team in scoring. A.J. Martinka is poised to step in and fill the void, and early on has averaged 14.2 points a game, just behind the 14.5 of Quinton Borseth. The 6-foot-6 junior was more of a play-maker for the 2014-15 team, but has the ability to score. Marysville-Pilchuck got to Tacoma, but lost both state games and didn’t trophy. Josh Bevan is scoring more than 19 points a game for the Tomahawks, but the team began 0-4.
Metro Mountain: Three teams from this division alone placed in the Top 6 at state one season ago. Lakeside and Northwestern signee Isiah Brown (who is averaging more than 37 points a game early in the year) already has a division loss to Eastside Catholic and new coach Brent Merritt, who has moved over after years as assistant to Ed Haskins at Garfield. Seattle Prep, with Aaron Nettles and Nic Lynch, each averaging about 15 points a game, lead the Panthers. Those three squads could make this division the most hotly contested in the Metro League.
Metro Valley: Being in the same division as the defending state champs, as everyone is here with Garfield and the Bulldogs’ cadre of returning talent, is daunting. The question may be whether Cleveland is up to the challenge. C.J. Elleby leads the way for the Eagles, while Davon Bolton also is averaging 12.5 points a game early in the season.
Metro Sound: Rainier Beach expects, again, to be the class of the division. In addition to big-time recruits Sam Cunliffe and Keith Smith, when he returns, Kevin Porter already is averaging 13 rebounds a game early in the season, while Travis Washington is dishing out nine assists and grabbing six steals a game. West Seattle has gotten itself off to a solid start as well, with three wins to begin the year. Nate Pryor and Abdullahi Mohamed both are averaging in double figures scoring. Chief Sealth, with Isiah Heart averaging 22 points a game, also won three of its first four games.
Kingco: Bellevue finished sixth in the state a year ago. The Wolverines have two players, Mikey Henn and Sharif Khan, averaging more than 20 points a game for the young season. But it might be one of the 2A schools in the league, Liberty, that upsets a Bellevue coronation come next February. The Patriots, with Mikey Walter and Connor Chapman, can competitively score and rebound. Sammamish’s Abu Drammeh has been one of the league’s best scorer’s early, at 28 points a game. Shawn Ogier and Jordan Richter should keep Lake Washington in the mix for a playoff spot. Josh Stenberg’s 20 points a game has Mercer Island off to a good start.
SPSL: Oregon State signee JaQuori McLaughlin and the Peninsula Seahawks will get help from Jimmy Ritchie and Garrett Kingman. Whether any of the remaining seven 3A teams in the league can keep up is the question. Auburn Mountainview has gotten off to a solid start, and 6-4 senior Ryan Lacey scores 22 points a game. Enumclaw senior Josh Erickson is averaging 20.8 points and 8.8 rebounds a game.
Seamount: For many seasons, it’s been all about catching Kennedy Catholic. Led by junior Emilio Mancol and his 17 points a game, the Lancers again should prove formidable. Keannu Royster adds more than 11 points a game, while Trevor Hoffman chips in nine points and 5.3 rebounds. Renton and Lindbergh have been tough, but it may be Hazen’s year to shine. Connor O’Hearn provides the big scoring punch. Freshman Gianni Almeda draws the toughest defensive matchup each game for new coach Pat De Smet.