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Tigers hope to put things all together

Boys basketball: The hard-working team should be strong on defense again this year
by: DAN BROOD KEY SENIOR — Chris Mackenzie is one of the top returning seniors for the Tigers this season.

TIGARD - As usual, the Tigers are going to work hard.

As usual, they should be strong on defense.

Now, add in some size and a more potent scoring attack, and it could be a big year for the Tigard High School boys basketball team.

'We again hope to be in the mix in the Pacific Conference,' Tigard coach Shawn Alderman said. 'We have a handful of returning players back who will bring us good leadership and experience. We once again will be defined by how well we defend. Once we got everyone back, we have had great practices, which is exciting. We have some size this year, which should help.'

Among the key returnees from last year's Tigard team that went 14-10 on the season, including a 9-5 record in league play, is senior guard/wing Jarred Kelsay (6-foot-1)

'He's a very good shooter and may turn out to be our best defender because of his intelligence and how hard he plays,' Alderman said.

Junior Evan Garrison (5-11) returns at point guard. Last year, he was an all-league honorable mention pick.

'He's very good with the ball,' Alderman said. 'He's a good shooter and a good distributor. He's one of our hardest workers.'

Senior Chris Mackenzie (6-1) is back at a wing spot.

'He's a very good athlete who will be able to defend as well as shoot the three and he can really run in transition,' Alderman said.

Senior post Jeremy Moore (6-1), coming off an outstanding football season, should give the Tigers strength inside.

'He's big and strong and will be a very good post defender and rebounder despite being undersized at times,' Alderman said.

Junior wing/post Will Schaer (6-1) also returns for the Tigers.

'He's a good athlete and shooter who will provide depth at both positions,' Alderman said.

A pair of transfers will help Tigard in the post this year.

Junior Sam Stelk (6-5), who played at Summit last year, should be strong in the paint for the Tigers this year.

'He's a very talented post who will give us some inside scoring,' Alderman said. 'He's one of the better rebounders I've been around.'

Senior Shai Gray (6-4), who played at Tigard as a sophomore, is back with the Tigers after playing at North Salem last year.

'He's a very talented post who should help inside,' Alderman said.

Junior Conner Olson (6-2) will play at a wing spot.

'He's worked extremely hard and will be a good shooter for us,' Alderman said. 'He doesn't make mistakes and is a very heady player.'

Junior wing Robby Chabreck (6-0) provides even more athleticism.

'He's a good athlete and good shooter,' Alderman said.

Senior Nick Vollstedt (5-10) gives Tigard another outside shooting threat.

'He has worked very hard and will provide good quickness and athleticism,' Alderman said. 'He's a good shooter, as well.'

Sophomore wings Dylan Leonard (6-2) and Nick Kaelin (6-1) should also see some varsity action.

Tigard will be looking to be balanced on offense this year.

'We should be able to score inside more this year, which will open up some things for our perimeter players,' Alderman said. 'We have a number of good shooters.'

But putting all the parts together could be a crucial factor for the Tigers.

'How well we come together as a team will be very important to our success this year,' Alderman said. 'We have some returners and some newcomers, so how quickly they mesh will be important.'

As for the Pacific Conference this year, Alderman sees some good competition ahead.

'The league is a lot better than people around the state think,' Alderman said. 'Century should be very good this year. Tualatin and Mac (McMinnville) are always tough and Newberg has a lot of talent as well. We hope to be in that mix.'

Tigard, on Tuesday, fell 72-35 to defending state champion Jesuit. The loss gives the Tigers an early-season record of 2-3.

The Tigers will be back in action Monday when they host Centennial at 7 p.m. in a first-round game of the Tigard Holiday Tournament.