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Rangers look to rebound

Estacada head coach expects significant improvement this season
by: Loren Nibbe Estacada's Ryan Vauthier is expected to lead an experienced Ranger team that has high hopes after a disappointing season last year.

Coming off a rough season in which they won just four games, the Estacada boys basketball team is poised for a far more competitive season.

While most Tri-Valley League teams are returning their best players, the Rangers return quite a few varsity players as well.

Among the returners are Ryan Vauthier and Garrett Bergquist, both of whom were starters last season. Vauthier was an honorable mention for the all-league team.

The Rangers have lost a few key players, however, with the graduation of Jacob Layton and the transfers of Bryan Rhone and Dylan Rynaski.

They did get one transfer in return in Wes Mullins, who head coach Kevin Kirchhofer says will provide the Rangers with some much needed size and depth.

Other returning players who will play a big role this season are Jacob Lensch and Austin Overton, who both saw a lot of minutes on varsity last year.

'We run a four-guard offense that is really up-tempo,' Kirchhofer said. 'We like to put a lot of pressure on people defensively because we're pretty athletic, and if we can create a chaotic atmosphere, it's to our advantage.'

Last season the Rangers started three sophomores and two juniors, but Kirchhofer insists they made significant improvements from the beginning of the year until the end.

While their record may look grim, the Rangers were 0-4 in league games that were decided by fewer than four points, something Kirchhofer attributed to their youth. Saying that, he expects his team to perform much better this season.

'My expectation for the year is that we'll finish in the top four in our league if we do the things we need to do,' Kirchhofer said. 'It will be so tight that there may be just a game or two difference between a few teams.'

This will be Kirchhofer's sixth season as the head varsity coach at Estacada.

The Rangers next home game is at 7 p.m. Dec. 13 against West Salem.