2022-23 Winter High School Sports Preview: Boys basketball capsules for the Greater Spokane League and Eastern Washington
Dec. 8, 2022 Updated Thu., Dec. 8, 2022 at 1:54 p.m.
The Washington high school boys basketball season is underway. Here’s a preview of the Greater Spokane League 4A/3A and 2A divisions, plus others in the region.
Teams in alphabetical order by classification. Records/standing listed from fall 2021.
Greater Spokane League 4A/3A
Central Valley (18-8, 7-2, tied second): GSL MVP Dylan Darling is now at Washington State, but fourth-year coach Mike Laws returns five letter winners and two starters: honorable mention All-GSL guard Daniel Crowley and shooting guard Trace Chalich. “We’re very inexperienced,” Laws said. “Our key to success will be how long it takes to develop team chemistry.”
Cheney (4-15, 1-8, ninth): Travis Peevey takes over at coach with nine letter winners and three starters back, including first-team All-GSL forward junior Evan Stinson leading the way. Seniors Jakeb Vallance and Alex Hinrichs help form the core while transfer Gentz Hilburn – off an MVP football season with Lewis and Clark – will provide a spark. “We are in a program wide culture rebuild,” Peevey said. “We have young, athletic, talented players to compliment a solid core of upperclassmen.”
Ferris (18-7, 6-3, fourth): Only one starter returns for seventh-year coach Sean Mallon: junior shooting guard Dylan Skaife, who received honorable mention all-league last season. Senior transfer Reese Snellman (BFL Prep Seattle) will help immediately. “It’s a tough and competitive group that is balanced on both ends of the court,” Mallon said. “We have some nice pieces that we need to figure out how to make fit together.”
Gonzaga Prep (16-10, 8-1, first): Three starters and five letter winners return for coach Matty McIntyre, starting his 13th season with the Bullpups. Seniors Jackson Floyd and Jamil Miller with junior Henry Sandberg will be counted on for lots of minutes. “We could be a very good defensive team,” McIntyre said. “We need to improve rebounding and continue to be disciplined on every possession.”
Lewis and Clark (8-14, 3-6, seventh): Coach Jase Wambold steps in for retired Jim Redmon with six returning letter winners but just one returning starter. Seniors Luke Marshall, Sean Eastlund and Brayden Perko will be counted on to lead. Of the eight juniors on the squad, only one played varsity minutes last season. “Our team will need to learn quickly early in the season what it takes to win high-level varsity games,” Wambold said.
Mead (12-12, 6-3, fifth): Second-year coach Luke Jordan starts from scratch with all five starters lost to graduation. Six players with varsity experience return, including seniors Liam Blanchat and Nolan Braun. Transfers Max Allen (Gonzaga Prep) and Johnny Talarico (Ferris) will help. “To be competitive, we will have to make life difficult for opponents on defense while relying on a variety of contributors offensively,” Jordan said.
Mt. Spokane (22-7, 7-2, second): First-team all-GSL senior forward Maverick Sanders leads three starters and five letter winners back from a state semifinal appearance for eighth-year coach David Wagenblast. Junior point guard and second-team all-league Ryan Lafferty and junior Andrew Rayment are prime contributors. “I believe our team should provide anyone in the state a great game,” Wagenblast said. “Our defense and athleticism will be a handful.”
North Central (6-16, 2-7, eighth): In an informal poll, two GSL coaches picked the Wolfpack to finish second this season coming off a two-win season. It’s a lofty expectation for third-year coach Andre Ervin. “We are very big upfront with four starters over 6-foot-4,” he said. “We will be a very tough team to face in man defense.” Junior post Jacori Ervin is 6-10 and sophomore forward Juju Ervin is 6-8. Both are highly ranked and recruited. Even point guard Eli Williams stands 6-4.
Ridgeline (1-17, 0-9, 10th): Eight letter winners and all five starters return for Freddie Rehkow in the Falcons second season. Senior All-GSL honorable mention Dakota Means and fellow senior Isaac Richardson are leaders. “Last year was a tough test for our youth, but the experience we gained has helped us work hard in the offseason to better prepare us for the rigors of the GSL,” Rehkow said.
University (13-10, 5-4, sixth): Coach Garrick Phillips, in his 16th season, has one starter and six letter winners back. “We are returning some varsity experience, but not a lot of game experience,” he said. “We have good team speed and athleticism and will play fast and apply defensive pressure.” Senior guard Tyler Nelson and juniors Gabe Heimbigner and Shane Skidmore are the core.
Greater Spokane League 2A
Clarkston (13-7, 7-3, tied second): Graduation hit hard for 12th-year coach Justin Jones: seven letter winners and four starters have moved on. Junior guard Xavier Santana is the lone holdout and he’ll be counted on to score until things mesh. “I really like the balance and playmaking ability that we have with our team so far – we are going to be able to put five threats on the floor at any one time,” Jones said.
East Valley (7-14, 3-7, fourth): Coach Ty Fowler, in his second campaign, brings back the entire team from last season, led by senior guard Luke Holecek and junior guard Diezel Wilkinson, both all-league picks last season. “With no graduating class from last season, and a whole year in the new system, we are poised to make a big jump this season,” Fowler said. “We have a strength inside with good shooters to space the floor.”
Pullman (23-3, 9-1, first): The state runners-up Greyhounds return five letter winners and three starters for 16th-year coach Craig Brantner. All-state senior guard Jaedyn Brown can fill it up while all-league picks Tanner Barbour and Champ Powaukee form the core. “Our bench was a strength last year,” Brantner said. “We graduated most of them. But we have a very solid nucleus.”
Rogers (2-19, 1-9, sixth): Coach Karim Scott, in his fifth season with the Pirates and 10th overall, returns three starters and six letter winners, led by All-GSL honorable mention senior guard Tavionce Trammel. Other key returners are junior guard Hartman Warrick and junior forward Devin Holyfield. “With us winning two games last year, we can only go up,” Scott said. “This team is more talented and hardworking than last year.”
Shadle Park (6-16, 3-7, fifth): Eight letter winners and three starters graduated for coach Arnold Brown, entering his fifth season with the Highlanders. Seniors Jordan Dever and Ronan Redd, along with sophomore Jacob Boston, are key returners. “To be competitive we must learn to play hard, rebound and take care of the basketball,” Brown said.
West Valley (18-5, 7-3, tied second): Coach Jay Humphrey, starting his 14th season with the Eagles and 25th overall, graduated a pair of first-team all-leaguers but has six letter winners and three starters back, including senior guard Roscoe Schroder and juniors Grady Walker and Ben Fried. “We are not very big but have good team speed and chemistry,” Humphrey said. “This is an extremely fun group to coach.”
Deer Park (10-9, 2-6, sixth): Chad Hand returns for his 11th season with three starters back: senior forward Seth Hickman and senior guards Iah Stapf and Cole Krepcick. “We have a group of players that are great teammates and work hard,” Hand said.
Freeman (24-3, 12-0, first): The Scotties finished fourth at state last year but were almost wiped out by graduation. The only returning starter is Boen Phelps, a three-time first-team All-NEA and second-team all-state last season. Sophomore Colton Wells will be a spark.
Lakeside (16-10, 9-4, third): The Eagles made it to state last year for coach Mike McCune, entering his third season. He’ll have three starters and five letter winners back off that team, including senior guard Kole Hunsaker and juniors Calvin Mikkelsen and Hiro Patterson, all coming off a league-winning football campaign.
Riverside (3-20, 1-8, seventh): Jordan Dutton takes over a rebuilding program with six letter winners and three starters back. Forward Coldin Ackerman is the senior leader while juniors Jacob Gaffaney and Daniel Schneider build the core.
Liberty (23-2): The State 2B champions lost four starters and six letter winners to graduation but return a solid core, including seniors Brandon Finau and Jake Jeske, for state coach of the year Jared Hodl.
Lind-Ritzville/Sprague (14-10): Coach Dustan Arlt, in his 14th season, brings back the entire squad from last season, led by first-team all-league senior captain post Chase Galbreath.
Northwest Christian (16-10): Six letter winners and three starters return for fifth-year coach Aaron Spuler, including first-team all-league picks Asher and Avi West, hoping for a return trip to state.
St. George’s (11-11): Ryan Peplinski return for his 22nd season with nine letter winners and four starters back, led by a pair of sophomore all-league picks: point guard Shawn Jones and shooting guard Mason Zarlingo. Seniors John Nowland and Tanner Watkins are leaders.
Northport (5-12): Second-year coach Bradley Mutton has six letter winners and four starters back but it’s a young crew, with junior Joey Beardslee the leader.
Springdale (7-8): New coach Isiah Sprinkle has nine letter winners and two starters back, including senior forward Jordan Howder and state champion high and triple jumper junior Teko Cates.
Garfield-Palouse (4-12): The Vikings have four letter winners and one starter back for first-year coach Nathan Holbrook. Junior post Colton Pfaff will have to step up as leader.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.