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Basketball: SPSL North boys, girls preview capsules

Post by Doug Pacey / The News Tribune on Nov. 30, 2010 at 8:43 pm with No Comments »
November 30, 2010 8:43 pm

Over the next few days, we’ll be rolling out our high school basketball previews of all the leagues in our coverage area.

Up first is the SPSL North:

SPSL NORTH BOYS BASKETBALL PREVIEW

CRYSTAL BALL
1. Auburn (16-11)
2. Kentridge (14-10)
3. Kentwood (20-10)
4. Tahoma (5-15)
5. Mount Rainier (18-9)
6. Kentlake (8-12)
7. Auburn Riverside (12-10)
8. Kent-Meridian (5-16)
9. Jefferson (10-10)
*2009-10 records

STARTING FIVE
Player Pos. Height Grade School
Gary Bell G 6-2 Sr. Kentridge

Gonzaga-signee regarded by some as the most complete player in state
Kevin Henderson G 6-4 Sr. Auburn
Will play at Montana, averaged 22 points, 7 rebounds per game
Christian Behrens W 6-8 Sr. Tahoma
Averaged 21 points, 11 rebounds per game before tearing ACL last season
Iszia Johnson F 6-4 Sr. Auburn
A tremendous athlete, he averaged 16 points, 7 rebounds per game last season
Daniel Landram G 6-1 Sr. Kentlake
Super-quick guard averaged 13.6 ppg; was second-team all-league last year

FASTBREAK
Two of the best guards in the state – Kentridge’s Gary Bell and Auburn’s Kevin Henderson – call the SPSL North home. Bell is one of the most exciting players in the state and is capable of carrying his team. If the Chargers can develop a reliable inside presence, Kentridge will be very hard to stop. … Henderson emerged last season as a star and helped the Trojans to the state tournament. With Henderson, F Iszia Johnson and two other starters back, Auburn should make a deep postseason run. … Defending Class 4A state champion Kentwood will find out what life is like after All-American center Joshua Smith. First-year coach Brian Davis takes over a team deep in experience that learned to play together when Smith missed a chunk of last season because of an injury. F Jason Boyce and guards Alec Wilson and Mikell Everette should keep the Conks near the top of the league. … What Kentlake lacks in height, the Falcons make up for in quickness. G Daniel Landram and F Jaron Heck are back and could help Kentlake sneak into the top half of the standings. … If Tahoma W Christian Behrens is recovered from his knee injury, the Bears will have one of the most imposing frontcourts — Sophomore C Paul Loranger stands 6-foot-10 – in the league. … Auburn Riverside will look to talented G Cole Luckett to be its go-to scorer. … Mount Rainier has had some talented teams recently, reaching the Class 3A state tournament in four of the last five seasons. The Rams won’t be intimidated by the SPSL North, but time will tell how long it will take them to adapt to play in one of the state’s best leagues. G Terrell Smith, a former Decatur standout, has transferred to Mount Rainier. … With seven players with varsity experience back, Kent-Meridian could climb into the top of the league. The Royals will play most of their home games at Mill Creek Middle School because their gym is being renovated. … Jefferson has no returning starters and is loaded with underclassmen.

SPSL NORTH GIRLS BASKETBALL PREVIEW

CRYSTAL BALL
1. Kentwood (23-7)
2. Auburn Riverside (29-0)
3. Mount Rainier (18-8)
4. Auburn (10-13)
5. Tahoma (6-14)
6. Kentlake (15-11)
7. Jefferson (10-10)
8. Kentridge (1-19)
9. Kent-Meridian (2-18)
*2009-10 records

STARTING FIVE
Player Pos. Height Grade School
Kylie Huerta G 5-1 Sr. Kentwood
Reigning co-league Player of the Year will play at EWU
Kat Cooper W 6-0 Sr. Auburn Riverside
Boston College-bound forward might be the best player in the state
Brooklyn Hinkens G 5-6 Sr. Auburn Riverside
Smooth-shooting guard doesn’t lose her cool, is a 3-point threat
Courtney Johnson F 5-11 Sr. Kentwood
With state titles in hoops and soccer, Johnson knows how to win
Isia Johnson G/F 6-0 Jr. Auburn
One of the league’s most athletic players, averaged 14.3 ppg in ’09-‘10

FAST BREAK
The SPSL North has produced that last two Class 4A state champions – Kentwood in 2009 and Auburn Riverside in 2010. Expect the Conquerors and Ravens to again be contenders. Kentwood has four starters back, including reigning co-league Player of the Year Kylie Huerta (18 ppg, 4 apg), who will play at Eastern Washington University. A pair of 5-foot-11 forwards, Liz Mills and Courtney Johnson, give the Conks size inside. … Auburn Riverside finished undefeated last season and with three titles in four years has become one of the state’s top programs. With players like W Kat Cooper and guards Brooklyn Hinkens and Makenna Clark anchoring the team this season, the Ravens should have no trouble staying in the state-title hunt. … Newcomer Mount Rainier returns four starters from a team that reached the Class 3A state tournament last season. The Rams, led by senior posts Caroline Codd (9.5 ppg, 7.4 rpg and 3.2 spg) and Kiana Gandy (8.8 ppg, 7.0 rpg) should immediately be competitive. … With three returning starters, Auburn is poised for a breakthrough season. G/F Isia Johnson is electric and capable of scoring in bunches – she totaled 27 against Kentlake last season. … G Katie Buskey (14 ppg) and G/F Lauren Hamberg (8 ppg, 8 rpg) could lead Tahoma back to the postseason after a one-year hiatus. … Kentlake returns one starter, but has capable guards in Jessica Barnes and Erin Hunt. …New Kentridge coach Bob Sandall says the Chargers should improve from last season, using quickness and shooting to their advantage. Sydney Dupuis and Marisa Carpenter are returning starters for Kentridge. … Jefferson is young and athletic and might experience some growing pains. Guards Jada Piper and Christy Kullberg are back for the Raiders.

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