Wesco 4A North boys basketball preview

Key questions

  • Will Arlington repeat as league champs?

Arlington jumped from 10-10 in 2011-12 to 22-5 last season and Wesco 4A North champs. Led by the league’s player of the year in Terry Dawn – who set a new Eagles’ scoring record at the state tournament – Arlington finished fifth in the state.

Dawn is now playing at Central, but he is one of only three Arlington seniors from last year’s team that graduated. The Eagles return key players like guards Kaleb Bryson and Gavin Smoke and posts Noah Jones and Brady Brummel as the Eagles look stay on top in the North.

Head coach Nick Brown said he’s not sure what’s going to happen, but he’s excited to get the season underway and find out.

“We have a tough league. We’re just trying to get through and do what we’ve got to do,” Brown said. “I don’t know how good we are. We had a great summer. We have really good kids. We haven’t had a big test yet. I’m really curious to see what happens. We’ve got three games next week that’ll tell us right off the bat.”

  • Can a young Lake Stevens team rebound from off year?

The Vikings, who usually find themselves near the top of the standings, had a bit of an off season last year finishing with an 8-15 record. The emergence of Arlington and addition of Mount Vernon to the Wesco 4A North league took its toll on Lake Stevens and Snohomish.

Lake Stevens defeated Kamiak in the district tournament but suffered losses to Jackson and Edmonds-Woodway, the latter ending the Vikings’ 2012-13 season.

With only two seniors remaining Lake Stevens is going to have a young squad this season. The Vikings lost first-team guard Devin Stoen and second-teamer Dakota Tomson, but head coach Mark Hein is optimistic Lake Stevens can find its way.

“We’re just really young. We only have two seniors. We don’t have hardly any returning guys,” Hein said. “We’re really working with our young guys and we’re excited about them, but we also know it’s going to be a bit of a process along the way.

“…We usually have a yearly thing, a catchphrase. Something we really want to be about. This year it’s: ‘Every day, every play.’ We want to bring maximum effort every day and strive to be better.”

The Starting 5: The Herald’s Preseason All-League Team

  • G Kaleb Bryson, Sr., Arlington: Senior guard who hopes to have a big year and help keep Arlington on top after the departure of star guard Terry Dawn.
  • G Josh Baird, Sr., Snohomish: The second-team all-league guard was a bright spot for a struggling Panthers squad that looks to rebound after a tough season.
  • F Miles Witt, Sr., Mount Vernon: One of two strong Mount Vernon forwards who hope to have the Bulldogs again competing in the postseason.
  • F/P Casey Leek, Sr., Mount Vernon: First-team All-Wesco 4A North player who looks to help Mount Vernon be in the hunt for a Wesco title.
  • P Noah Jones, Sr., Arlington: Jones, a three-year varsity player, knows where he needs to be and what he needs to do.

Player to watch: Noah Jones, Arlington

It’s the uncanny ability to be where he needs to be and know what he needs to do, as well as his obvious basketball talent and demeanor, that makes Jones the kind of player Arlington head coach Nick Brown likes having around.

“He gets it,” Brown said. “I brought him up as a sophomore. He knows what I want and he knows what I’m thinking. He’s right where I’m at.”

Last season Jones was a first-team All-Wesco 4A North post who averaged a double-double each night. Now, with Arlington star guard Terry Dawn graduated, Jones will be asked to do even more. And it isn’t just scoring and rebounds that Brown is asking of Jones.

“Since Terry’s gone we have a void of leadership and we’re trying to figure that out,” Brown said. “Noah’s solid. He’s a great student. A great kid. I just think of Noah, Kaleb (Bryson) and Brady (Brummel) as a great group. Those kids just go together.”

Coming off a fifth-place finish at state, Jones is looking to have another big year for Arlington, which hopes to get back to the Tacoma Dome for a second-straight season.

“You get there, you get the taste, you want to get back,” Brown said.

Fresh face: F Trey Pavitt, Fr., Lake Stevens

The 6-foot-2 freshman is going to be looked at to provide critical minutes for a young Lake Stevens team that only returns two seniors.

Coaches poll

1. Arlington

2. Mount Vernon

3. Snohomish

4. Lake Stevens

5. Monroe

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