By David Pan Weekly Herald sports editor
LYNNWOOD — First-year head coach Andy Streit and the Meadowdale boys basketball team share a lot in common.
Both are young, energetic and confident, and both have a keen appreciation for the winning tradition the Mavericks have established through the years.
Streit, a longtime assistant and a 1998 graduate of Meadowdale, succeeded former coach Chad McGuire, who left the program to spend more time with his family.
Senior guard Torin Dooley, one of only two returning starters, said the Mavericks feed off of their new head coach’s youthful energy.
“You can relate to him,” Dooley said. “He gets us going. He has so much passion.”
Streit’s attention to detail is on display during practices, said senior guard Spencer Linton, the team’s other returning starter.
“He’s all about getting everything perfect,” Linton said. “He’s working at a high pace. He’s very efficient with our time. There is no wasted time practicing.”
Meadowdale’s roster underwent a significant turnover with the graduation of the team’s top scorer and rebounder. Streit, however, is glad to have Dooley and Linton back and is relying on the two senior guards to provide strong leadership for their teammates.
“We have a really young program,” Streit said. “They’ve done a great job embracing the coaching transition and any new things we’re trying to put into the program. They’ve been great leaders and role models. They’re really paving the way as we transition into the next chapter of Meadowdale basketball.”
On the court, Dooley and Linton return to their same roles as last year with Dooley handling the point guard duties, while Linton, the team’s second-leading scorer, fills the shooting/off-guard position. Both players earned all-league honors last season.
“We’re looking at them to really set the tone for us on the defensive end and carry a lot of the weight on the offensive end as well,” Streit said.
The graduation of Tyce Tallman and Dylan Buck means that Meadowdale is a little undersized this season.
The Mavericks are looking to Brian Feldhause, a 6-foot-6 senior center, to help bolster their inside game. Feldhause saw limited action last year and Streit fully anticipates a larger role for him this season.
Senior post Taylor England (6-4), once he recovers from a football injury, also figures into Streit’s plans as does freshman Charlie White, a 6-2 post.
Linton (6-1) isn’t too concerned about the lack of height as he and Dooley (6-1) are prepared to join the battle inside.
“Although we’re not a very tall team, our guards are pretty tall for guards,” Linton said. “I think we’re going to be a strong, energetic team. We’ll be fine on the rebounding.”
Dooley noted that the Meadowdale defensive scheme is very compacted in the key.
“Everyone boxes out and goes for the rebound,” Dooley said.
Meadowdale’s versatility also should help. Senior Matt Hirsch (6-0 tall) can play either guard or the post, Streit said.
“We’ve got to have our guards rebound this year,” he said. “We kind of have to adapt our system around the personnel we have and our size. We’ve got to be creative on both ends as far as setting ourselves up to be successful in light of the lack of height.”
The newcomers to the team are fundamentally sound players, Linton said.
“I feel like within the first couple of game we should pick up right where we left off last year,” he said. “We should have no problem being able to move on the break and play defense.”
During McGuire’s tenure, the Mavericks advanced to state five times and placed four times.
Both Linton and Dooley have family ties to the program. Linton’s cousin was Jake Linton, while Dooley is following older brother Teagan. Both Jake Linton and Teagan Dooley played for teams that advanced to state.
“Meadowdale has been one of the top programs for a long time,” Linton said. “I think that state is always a reasonable goal for Meadowdale, especially with this team.”