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Wesco 3A South boys basketball preview

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  • Mountlake Terrace's Loren Lacasse is guarded by Lincoln's Justice Martion (10) during their quarterfinal game at the 3A state championships last seaso...

    Genna Martin / The Herald

    Mountlake Terrace's Loren Lacasse is guarded by Lincoln's Justice Martion (10) during their quarterfinal game at the 3A state championships last season.

  • Mountlake Terrace's Greg Bowman (33) controls a loose ball as Shorewood's Ben Andrews falls to the floor in the second quarter.

    Jennifer Buchanan / The Herald

    Mountlake Terrace's Greg Bowman (33) controls a loose ball as Shorewood's Ben Andrews falls to the floor in the second quarter.

Key questions
  • Can Terrace reload?
The Hawks lost seven seniors including starters Jesse Zerom, Marquis Armstead and Blake Fernandez from last year's team that placed fourth at the 3A state championship. Dealing with the loss of the group -- which also included AnhViet Nguyen, Yohans Tewolde, Michael Lotz and LeTrae Sarden -- is going to be difficult for the Hawks.
"We'll never replace them," said Mountlake Terrace head coach Nalin Sood. "They weren't like that when they were sophomores. They played into that. … It took time for them to get to there and they got to the pinnacle. They got to the top. And that's how we have to look at it with our guys now. It's going to take time."
Sood thinks it will take some time for the Hawks to develop, but thinks they will be aided by what appears to be a wide-open Wesco 3A South league.
"If someone was to ask me who are the good teams are it'd be easier to say who the bad teams are: nobody," Sood said. "They're all going to be tough. I just see more parity in the league this year than ever."
  • Who's back?
It isn't just the league-champion Hawks who are dealing with a lot of turnover this season. Every team in the league is dealing with the loss of several big-name players to graduation. Perhaps it isn't the numbers, but just the sheer talent of those who are no longer playing in Wesco.
Hit the hardest was second-place Glacier Peak, which lost co-Wesco 3A South player of the year Zach Pederson, along with Dreu Vader, Ramsey Rosales and Mitchl Pohrman. In fact, the Grizzlies graduated all five starters and only return two players who got steady varsity experience last season.
Shorewood lost post Josh Hawkinson, the league's other co-player of the year -- who is now suiting up for Washington State -- as well as second-team guards Ben Andrews and Taylor Freeman. The Thunderbirds' crosstown rival Shorecrest has to account for the loss of posts Dylan Pontrello, Sam Franks and Alex Horning, the latter two second-team all-league last season.
"There's definitely some great players that graduated but there's definitely some good players coming back," said Glacier Peak head coach Brian Hunter.
The Starting 5: The Herald's Preseason All-League Team
  • G Barrett Carlow, Sr., Meadowdale: After missing last season with an anterior cruciate ligament injury, the guard is back on the court and looking to help the Mavs.
  • W Conin Oishi, Sr., Shorecrest: The wing, who is always a scoring threat, is one of eight returning seniors for Shorecrest.
  • P Jacob Perkins, Sr., Meadowdale: The post came on last season as a rebounding force and returns as Meadowdale looks to reemerge in a wide-open Wesco 3A South.
  • P Loren Lacasse, Sr., Mountlake Terrace: Along with teammate Greg Bowman, Lacasse was a first-team All-Wesco 3A South post player last season.
  • P Greg Bowman, Sr., Mountlake Terrace: This big man that can shoot should give the Hawks a lethal inside-outside game.
Player to watch: Greg Bowman, Mountlake Terrace
With so much of last year's fourth-place Mountlake Terrace team graduated, Mountlake Terrace head coach Nalin Sood is just happy that anyone is back from last season.
Although, he seems especially eager to coach Bowman for one more season.
"For three years all he's done is made each one of his teams a better team, made each one of his teammates better and done it humbly," Sood said. "With Greg, you have to enjoy it while you got it because he's a wonderful young man to coach and be around."
Sood is looking to Bowman to not just help with the x's and o's, but also be an example that other players can follow. Bowman – who is getting recruited by Ivy League schools, as well as some Division-2 programs – is what Sood calls "the whole package."
This year the Hawks are thankful to bring back two strong post players to cement their team. Both Bowman and Lacasse will be instrumental if Mountlake Terrace is going to be able to make another deep playoff run.
"They're really every bit as good as each other," said Mountlake Terrace head coach Nalin Sood. "One night Greg will be 1A and Loren 1B and then you can flip it the next night."
Fresh face: W Brady Southard, Jr., Glacier Peak
Southard will be one of several players called up from last year's junior varsity team to help a Grizzlies squad that graduated its entire starting lineup.
Coaches poll
1. Mountlake Terrace
2. Shorecrest
3. Shorewood
4. Meadowdale
5. Glacier Peak

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