By Aaron Lommers Herald Writer
Most likely to succeed: Arlington
The 4A North should be very competitive this season, but with the return of perhaps the best offensive player in the league, Terry Dawn, the Arlington Eagles come into the season as the favorite.
Arlington head coach Nick Brown reluctantly accepts the expectations on his team.
“I don’t like having a target on my back,” he said. “I never do. But I think these guys have worked hard and I think people recognize that.”
Brown also said that being the favorite doesn’t guarantee wins.
“Our league is tough, it’s just a tough league,” Brown said. “To say we are the favorites is quite a compliment, but we haven’t done anything yet.”
The Eagles coaching staff and the coaches of the other team’s in the league know what Dawn can do, but Arlington’s success will come down to the play of supporting cast. Brown said there will be a learning curve for several players who haven’t played a big role on varsity before and hopes to see improvement throughout the season.
Most likely to surprise: Snohomish
The Panthers were just one game away from getting to the Tacoma Dome a year ago, but getting back there could prove tough.
Not only did Snohomish lose one of the best scorers in the state in Luke Hamlin, but role players like Kevin Yates, Mitchell Stewart and Gabe Reichenberger are all gone to graduation as well.
That said, head coach Len Bone has done this a time or two before and he will have his team ready to compete. Russell Crippen is back for his senior season and will be one of the leaders of the team, but the real key to the season will be how the newcomers adjust to their new role on varsity.
Most likely to score 40: Terry Dawn, Arlington
At 6-foot-4 Terry Dawn has a unique skill set that allows him to be quite the offensive threat. Dawn has the size to go inside, but the range to step out and shoot the 3 at a high percentage. With Dawn’s length and ability to drive and shoot he is a very difficult player for other teams to guard.
“He’s a lot stronger than people realize and so he can go inside and outside,” Arlington head coach Nick Brown said. “He can shoot off the drive and he can shoot off the catch, he’s really good at that. He finds other players. He’s a good passer. That’s another thing that has really improved for him.”
While Dawn is capable of putting up big points on any given night, Brown said his unselfishness is one of his greatest assets.
“It’s all about the team and we preach that here and Terry has bought into that,” Brown said. “If we can find those moments where he can take over because he is going to have to do that sometimes. But I think he has found the right mix of when to do it and when not to do it.”
Most likely to get caught stealing: Dakota Tomson, Lake Stevens
A quick athletic guard, Dakota Tomson is one of the best on-ball defenders in the league. His lateral quickness and quick hands help him get into passing lanes and create steals for his team.
Tomson’s ability to cause turnover results in fastbreak opportunities for the Vikings. Turning defense into offense is one of the greatest strengths of his game.
“Dakota’s combination of quickness, tenacity, knowledge and competitiveness have a chance to set him apart as an elite defender,” Lake Stevens head coach Mark Hein said.
If the Vikings are going to challenge Arlington for the league championship, they will need Tomson’s defense throughout the season.
Most likely to succeed: Jackson
The Timberwolves surprised some, but not themselves, by making it to the Tacoma Dome a year ago and though they didn’t place, the Timberwolves proved that they can play with the best 4A team’s in the state.
This season expectations are high for Jackson. They didn’t lose much from last year’s team and all the key components are back this season. Jason Todd is considered one of the best players in the state and will lead the way offensively for the Timberwolves. The surrounding cast of players, led by point guard Dan Kingma and players like Brian Zehr and Kyle Graff, will have to be at their best, however, if the Timberwolves are going to achieve their goal of bringing home a trophy from the state tournament.
Head coach Steve Johnson said the Timberwolves have to back up their role as the favorites on the floor.
“As anyone will tell you, preseason predictions don’t mean anything and we have to play hard and unselfishly to accomplish anything,” Johnson said.
Most likely to surprise: Mariner
Team defense and offensive execution will be a focus for the Marauders this season and that offense will be led by Bayek Tutlam, who is capable of scoring big point on any given night.
Head coach Tom Jensen said when Mariner plays pressure defense and is offensively aware they are a good team. Steady improvement throughout the season is the goal.
“Our goals as a team is to get better every day,” Jensen said. “As the season progresses we want progress so that when the playoffs come we are playing our best basketball. My hope is that Wesco South is surprised by our new level of focus and improved decision making on the court.
Most likely to score 40: Jason Todd, Jackson
Todd is a player that has the offensive skill set to do it all. He can shoot from the outside, post up and score inside, score off of offensive rebounds and he gets the free-throw line with frequency.
Still, Johnson said one of Todd’s strengths is his unselfishness.
“It’s funny that Jason is the most likely player to score 40 because there is a part of me thinking, ‘he’d never get 40 because he’d never take enough shots to,’” Johnson said. “In other words, he’s such an unselfish player. And, he can definitely score, but his strength is his all-around game.”
Most likely to get caught stealing: Devin Joseph, Edmonds-Woodway
Joseph is one of the quickest guards in the league and can pick almost anyone’s pocket.
“He sets the tone for a very solid defensive team whether they are in man-to-man or if he’s patrolling the top of their zone,” Jackson head coach Steve Johnson said.
Joseph’s play, along with the post presence of Travis Bakken are a couple of reasons why the Warriors should contend in the Wesco 4A South.