OKANOGAN – The Okanogan High School boys basketball team returns two first-team Caribou Trail League players after finishing fourth in state 1A last year.
Senior Justin Rivas and junior Jim Townsend will lead the Bulldogs, which finished 25-2 last season.
The Bulldogs graduated Quinton Oliver from its starting five.
Jason Perez, who shined in postseason, should fill the vacancy, Okanogan coach Mike Carlquist said.
Also back are posts Justin VanderWeide and wing T.J. Morris.
First off the bench could be Toby Pruitt, a sophomore who can pass and rebound.
The coach sees Brewster, Cashmere and Chelan as the top teams to beat.
“Tonasket should be better,” he said. “They have a lot of seniors back. It’s going to be a good league. There are four or five teams that are capable of beating each other on a given night.”
Okanogan started the season with its jamboree Tuesday.
Tonight, Wednesday, the Bulldogs take on a traveling Australian team following the girls game at 6 p.m.
Okanogan heads to Lake Roosevelt on Thursday and returns home for Medical Lake on Saturday.
BREWSTER — Easton Driessen, who was named to the league’s first team last year, will anchor the Brewster High School boys basketball team.
“We return nine guys from last year’s team,” coach Tim Taylor said. “We started different lineups a lot last year, but for the most part all the starters are back.”
Taylor said Okanogan was the clear favorite in the Caribou Trail League followed by Cashmere, Brewster, Chelan and Tonasket.
“I think Okanogan has a chance to win the whole thing (state championship),” Taylor said. “Quincy is always tough, too,” he said.
Parker Landdeck, who saw lots of playing time last year, has moved to Cashmere.
Brewster opens its season at home against Pateros on Friday. The Bears go to Ephrata on Saturday.
TONASKET — Tonasket will be building on last year’s solid year under then new coach Agustin Pedregon.
“They are getting to know me,” said Pedregon, who returns six seniors and three juniors with experience. “They’ve been focused and ready to go since day one.”
Pedregon sees Okanogan as the obvious top team followed by Brewster, Cashmere and Chelan.
“I don’t think much has changed from those top teams from last year,” he said. “If we want to be relevant in the CTL, we have to get some upsets on those teams.”
Tonasket plays its first game at Liberty on Friday.
OMAK — Omak is senior (eight) and freshmen (14) heavy, first-year coach Kyle Desautel said.
“I am loving it,” he said. “They compete every day in practice. That’s all I can ask.
“This year we will compete in pretty much every game. My kids are really working hard.”
Desautel has no idea how good Omak will be until it plays.
The said Okanogan and Cashmere, which earned state trophies, will be tough.
Omak goes to Lake Roosevelt today and is at Almira/Coulee-Hartline on Saturday.
PATEROS — Pateros returns seven of its eight varsity players from last year.
“We didn’t have any seniors so that helped with our younger guys to step up early and take the lead,” coach Marcus Stennes said. “We have also added some new faces to our varsity squad which is going to help our team have some depth.”
He predicted Waterville and Entiat will be tough.
“We are all pretty evenly matched, so it will be a good matchup each time we meet,” he said.
The Billygoats play at Brewster on Friday.
OROVILLE — Oroville returns four starters, which could make the Hornets a tough team to beat.
“We should definitely be in the hunt for the league title,” said first-year coach Jay Thacker, who said Joe Sarmiento and Juan Lopez made all conference teams last year.
Thacker, 37, comes to Oroville having most recently coached Goldendale for six years (although not last year).
“To tell you the truth, I don’t know how good the league is,” Thacker said. “I have not seen everybody. I don’t know how we will compete. The Hornets’ first game is against Curlew at home Saturday.