BOYS BASKETBALL: Coach Bracey sees his Mustangs among five teams vying for third and fourth place

MILWAUKIE - Milwaukie boys basketball coach Kyle Bracy says he believes his Mustangs are improved over last year, when they went 3-11 in league and 7-17 on the season.

'We're more athletic and a little quicker with our guards, and we're taller inside,' said Bracy. 'I think that overall we're a little better. The defense still needs some work, but we're better offensively. We've been putting up more points.'

The Mustangs return only three players who saw much playing time on varsity a year ago: seniors Paul Hubbard (6-4 post), Andrew Lee (5-11 wing/point guard) and Chris Schwab (5-9 point guard).

Lee, Milwaukie's quarterback in football, has been impressive in early preseason, scoring 24 points in a tough 61-58 loss to Southridge, 25 points in a 68-55 win over McMinnville, 21 points in a 57-50 loss to Gresham and 20 points in a 73-49 loss at Barlow.

Hubbard averaged 13.3 points as a junior, third-best among TRL returning players. The 6-4 senior scored 21 points against Southridge, 15 against McMinnville and 16 against Barlow..

Sam Hanthaley, a 5-11 junior wing, and Jon Opperud, a 6-5 senior post, have been starting with Lee, Hubbard and Schwab in preseason.

Seniors Jacob Waker (6-3 wing), Jeremy Fogoros (6-1 wing) and Nathan Lattanzi (6-0 wing) have also seen their share of playing time in preseason, along with junior Brandon Delestacious (6-0 point guard/wing) and sophomore Andre Dickson (6-2 post/wing).

'We're nine or 10 deep,' said Bracy.

The Milwaukie cage boss sees his Mustangs battling with four other teams for the TRL's third and fourth playoff spots.

'Lake Oswego and Oregon City will be one two,' said Bracy. 'After that, five teams are fighting for two spots.'

Bracy said the key for his Mustangs will be consistent play.

'We can't afford to show up one night and not the next,' said Bracy. 'In this league you've got to show up every night.'

The Mustangs open league play on Friday, Jan. 5, when they meet Oregon City on the road. They host Putnam on Tuesday, Jan. 9.

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