Prep basketball season is underway and the local teams from Newport, Bellevue, Interlake, Sammamish and Bellevue Christian are ready to hit the hardwood this winter.
Last season: 4-16 (3-10), 5th in 4A KingCo Crest.
The Newport boys basketball team is hoping its competitiveness and hard work will lead them into the playoffs this season.
Some of the key players for the Knights will be seniors Braeden Splaine and Ethan Chen, and juniors Ryan Thompson and Cole Haller.
Head coach Mark Prince said a number of players could take big strides for the Knights this year.
“Everyone is working hard to improve their game for the overall success of the team,” Prince said.
Prince said he is excited to coach the players to become better on and off the court and seeing them grow as a team.
Last season: 14-13 (8-5), 2nd in 4A KingCo Crest, lost in 4A regional playoffs.
The Knights are going to bring hard work, dedication and a “never-say-die” attitude into their young season.
Head coach Cuong Luu said he is excited for his inaugural season at the helm of the girls basketball program at Newport.
“I am really looking forward to building my relationship with my team, and getting into the meat of the season,” Luu said. “I’m excited to see this team come together, and work with me and one another to reach our full potential this year.”
Luu said he expects seniors Eva Richards (guard), Olivia Golan (forward), Makayla Iglesias (guard) and junior Charlee Arthur (wing) to be key contributors for the Knights. A young player to watch this season for the Knights is sophomore Allie Harrison (center).
“Allie is getting significant playing time as a sophomore, and is physically ready to make a major jump into being a reliable and competitive post player,” Luu said.
Last season: 16-9 (9-3), 2nd in 2A/3A KingCo, lost in 3A Sea-King district tournament.
The Wolverines have a young team that second-year head coach Sam Fein expects to get better as the season goes on.
“I think we will continue to get better and better as we collect some experience,” Fein said.
Fein said he expects all four of his returners from last year to play a big role for the Wolverines in the new season.
“Eric Hart is a dynamic shooter from the outside, Tom Nash should provide a presence in the paint and we feel that Hudson Hansen has a high impact everywhere on the court from assists, to scoring, rebounds and defense,” Fein said. “Unfortunately, Declan Rooney is injured, but we look forward to his return later in the year.”
The biggest strengths for the Wolverines will be their 3-point shooting and their interior defense.
Last season: 11-12 (8-4), 2nd in 2A/3A KingCo, lost in 3A district tournament.
The Bellevue girls basketball team is going into its new season with the goal of being its best selves, on and off the court.
“Our expectations is always to win KingCo and to make a deep run in the playoffs,” head coach Nick Crossan said. “But we also expect everyone to become the best version of themselves and build servant leaders for our community.”
Crossan said the biggest strength for the Wolverines is how they play for one another. That togetherness includes everyone involved in the program, including the people that help make game days possible.
“In our program, we are all about team basketball and it takes a village to become successful,” Crossan said. “No one is greater than the next.”
Last season: 11-12 (4-8), 5th in 2A/3A KingCo, lost in 3A Sea-King district tournament.
With a wealth of experience and senior leadership, the Interlake Saints have high expectations as they tackle the early part of their schedule.
“We will expect to compete with every team that is on our schedule,” Head coach Scott Marcum said. “Which is a change from Interlake teams of the recent past.”
Marcum is entering his first season as the head coach of the boys basketball team at Interlake. Previously, Marcum was the head coach of the girls team for 13 years before taking the past three years off from coaching.
“This is my first season as the head coach of the boys program, so I am looking forward to getting back into the gym,” Marcum said. “In my 17 years at the school, this is a group that is as talented and hard working as any Interlake team I’ve seen.”
Junior Derek Kramer, a 6-foot-10 post player and the reigning 2A/3A KingCo defensive player of the year, will be a key player for the Saints. Seniors Pierre Joseph (5-foot-10 guard), Ibrahim Ibrahim (5-foot-11 shooting guard) and Cade Didrickson (6-foot-5 small forward) will also be impactful players for the Saints.
Last season: 7-14 (4-8), 6th in 2A/3A KingCo, lost in 3A KingCo tournament.
The Interlake girls basketball team is going to apply a ton of pressure on their opponents with their style of play this season. Head coach Ryan Cruz said their style of basketball takes time for the players to get used to, so the team could struggle early in the season.
“We may start 0-6, so a district game/regional game may seem like a joke,” Cruz said. “But I play a style that needs game-work and is tough to prepare for.”
Cruz said that he expects the team to go on a late-season run for second in the league behind a talented Lake Washington team.
One of the key players for the Saints this year will be sophomore guard Mira Chew. Last season, Chew was named to the first-team 2A/3A KingCo all-league team as a freshman. The Saints will also rely on two other sophomores, Jenna Schmitt and Tori Concepcion. Senior Gretchen Dayment will provide strong defense for the Saints.
With only two seniors on the roster, Cruz said he is looking forward to developing their talented young players.
“It’s tough when you feel you have good players and (they) just need experience playing at the varsity level,” Cruz said. “But it’s also very exciting knowing my young players will compete at a high level and are coming (back for) the next few years.”
Last season: 1-19 (0-12), 7th in 2A/3A KingCo.
Having already surpassed their win total from last season in their first three games, the Totems are off to a perfect 3-0 start to their new season.
After a season-opening win over Franklin Pierce, the Totems played their home opener against the Highline Pirates on Dec. 6. After trailing 23-17 at halftime, the Totems came out strong in the second half to pull away for a 58-41 victory over the Pirates.
The Totems picked up their third straight win with a 55-45 victory over Bellingham on Dec. 7.
Last season: 13-12 (5-7), 5th in 2A/3A KingCo, lost in 2A district tournament.
The Totems will have a mixture of returning talent and youth as they look to build on a district tournament appearance last season.
“I have a seasoned group this year, and a pretty deep rotation, which is something (Sammamish) hasn’t had, historically,” head coach Anna Forge said. “Since this group has experienced the first round of playoffs a couple of times together, I’m expecting us to go a lot further into the postseason.”
With a deep rotation, Forge said different players can step up on any given night. One of the players to watch this season for the Totems is junior center Tia Robinson.
“She’s worked really hard on her touch around the basket, and has a great repertoire of moves down low,” Forge said. “When she taps into her confidence, she’s lethal.”
Forge said one of their biggest strengths is how well the team reads the play.
“Our basketball IQ is higher than it has ever been,” Forge said. “We see the court really well and can read and react better than I could have anticipated. We’ll be a tough team to guard.”
Bellevue Christian Vikings
Last season: 18-9 (6-2), 2nd in Nisqually, finished 6th at 1A state tournament.
The Vikings graduated nine seniors from last year’s team that made it to the state tournament, so there will be plenty of opportunities for young players to fill those rolls this season.
“With so many new faces, we are really focused on day to day trying to improve as individuals and help guys understand their roles,” head coach Brandon Kats said. “This should lead to improvement as the year goes on.”
The three returners for the Vikings, senior wing Malcom Schilz, senior center Joseph Primas and junior guard Jared Whitton, will be the leaders this season. Kats said Whitton is going to have a much bigger role this season for the Vikings.
“Whitton was a role player last year but got such good experience playing big minutes at the end of the year,” Kats said. “His development has been very cool to watch.”
Kats said he hopes to see the team play with a chip on its shoulder and to embrace the underdog role.
Last season: 24-3 (9-1), 1st in Nisqually, finished 4th at 1A state tournament.
After losing six players from last year’s successful team to graduation, the Vikings will have plenty of players stepping into new roles.
Junior guard Rylee Reese and sophomore forward Sophia Bold are expected to move from support roles to becoming a more focal point of the team.
“Reese will be our leader on the floor playing the point guard position,” DeJonge said. “She is a hard worker on both ends of the floor and will need to score for us. Bold really came on strong last year playing some of her best basketball at the state tournament, she will be one of our leaders in points and rebounds.”
The Vikings will rely on senior forward Madeleine Mumford to help lead the team as someone who is familiar with the program.
DeJonge said he hopes their defense will be their biggest strength this season.
“We stress team defense with the need to trust our teammates,” DeJonge said. “There may be some nights that points are hard to come by, on those nights we need to rely on our defense to keep us in games and get easy baskets.”