By David Pan Weekly Herald sports editor
It’s been an extremely busy spring and summer for the Meadowdale boys basketball team and that’s the way coach Andy Streit wanted it.
The Mavericks opened their offseason by playing in the Mountlake Terrace Summer League and then hosted their own 24-team tournament, a first for the school. Meadowdale attended team camp at Central Washington University and is scheduled to wrap up its summer activities by hosting its annual youth camp this week. The team played close to 40 games in about a month and with only two returning varsity players, the Mavericks needed every game so that Streit could start the process of evaluating his squad.
“We’ve had our ups and downs,” Streit said. “But being able to play a wide variety of teams really allowed us to see what our strengths and weaknesses are and how we stack up against the competition out there.”
One thing is for sure: Meadowdale is going to be young. There was only one junior in the entire program last season so it is possible that the Mavericks won’t have an incoming senior on the roster this winter.
The only returning varsity players are sophomore post Charlie White and junior guard Barrett Carlow. The rest of the team will be moving up from junior varsity.
“There are going to be a lot of new faces, a lot of people getting their first varsity experience,” Streit said.
White saw plenty of action as a freshmen due to injuries to Meadowdale other posts and he responded well.
“He filled the role tremendously,” Streit said. “He showed a lot of poise for a young kid and had a great competitive spirit. He felt a lot of pressure last year being in such a significant role. I’m hoping he’ll be a little more relaxed this year. He’ll need to play a variety of positions this year. It’ll be different than what he did last year.”
Carlow, a point/shooting guard, came off the bench last season. Streit envisions Carlow continuing at the point guard, but he won’t necessarily be the only one to direct the offense.
“There will be a variety of guys sharing the ball at the position,” Streit said. “We’re not going to be big. We’ll need to be interchangeable at guard.”
Carlow was out for much of the summer with an injury but joined his teammates at the Central Washington camp.
As for the rest of the team, Streit noted that different players have stepped up their game throughout the summer. It was difficult, however, for the Mavericks to get their entire team together at the same time.
Of the newcomers, juniors Jacob Perkins and Collin Costello both could see significant roles with the Mavericks, Streit said.
Streit sought the advice of a number of coaches, including his predecessor Chad McGuire, when he started to work on Meadowdale’s offseason schedule. The goal was to play a variety of teams.
“I wanted to mix up the competition level … to see where we’re at,” Streit said.
Meadowdale was able to attract some different teams to its own tournament, including Burlington-Edison and Archbishop Murphy.
“There were some new teams people weren’t used to playing,” Streit said.
Streit didn’t want his team to get too confident or to get too discouraged based on who the team was playing. His goal was to get an accurate view of the big picture.
“I was able to see what our kids’ commitment level was with their other sports,” Streit added. “We probably won’t be doing as much in the future, knowing the kids who will be back and how they are able to balance their other commitments.”
Despite their lack of varsity experience, Streit said his team exceeded his expectations. But Streit admits that the competition next season in the Western Conference 3A figures to be even tougher than he anticipated based on what he’s seen this offseason.
Shorecrest won the Meadowdale tournament and Glacier Peak captured the Stanwood tournament. District rival Mountlake Terrace finished first in the Roosevelt tournament. Shorewood also appears to be a strong contender, Streit noted.
“Although I think we were going to be competitive, it’s going to be very difficult to make a push toward the playoffs,” Streit said. “What’s really going to determine it is how much work the players put in during the offseason and how much they continue to pick up what it takes to win at the varsity level.”
The Mavericks need to get into the weight room, Streit said. “Being younger they are going to have to handle themselves physically against older competition.”
Streit said that accurate free throw shooting also is going to be important, and he hopes the players will make that a priority. This week’s youth camp will see the return of a number of different former Meadowdale players, including Roger O’Neill, who will be a senior at St. Martin’s University in Lacey.
“He started coming to the camp when he was in kindergarten,” Streit said. “He feels really good about giving back. The JV and varsity players have a great time coaching the younger kids during the camp.”