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Cowboys have 10 seniors on roster including six with significant varsity experience

by: LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Dillon Dean goes up for a shot against Michael Egbert during a recent practice. The Cowboys have a veteran team with 10 seniors as well as some underclassmen with varsity experience.

Expectations are high for this year’s Crook County High School boys basketball team.
   The team reached the state playoffs in 2008. Since then, the Cowboys have not had a winning record.
   However, the Cowboys improved to 11-14 last year. The team will return a number of seasoned veterans from last year. Adding to that, Marcus Greaves, who didn’t play last year because of an injury, returns. The team also gains depth from transfer Michael Egbert, and German foreign exchange student Pit Lee.
   “We have eight returning seniors who have been in the program since they have been freshmen,” head coach Jeff Lowenbach said. “Plus we have Egbert and Lee. Experience-wise, I think we are going to be pretty solid.”
   Lowenbach was quick to add that underclassman A.J. Cooper also has significant varsity experience.
   Although he was reluctant to single out any players so early in the season, Lowenbach said that he expects guards Jacob Mahurin and Troy Benton, forward Preston Washachek, and post Dillon Dees to be team leaders.
   “If you are looking at guys who have experience and should be leading the charge, it is those four guys,” he said.
   At 6-8, Dees is one of the tallest players in Central Oregon. By contrast, at just 5-11, Mahurin and Benton are relatively short. However, both players have shown the ability to hit long-range jumpers, which should open the middle up for Dees, as well as Egbert, who is 6-5, and Dillon Dean, who stands 6-4.
   In addition, although he is only 6-0, post player Chance Sutfin is expected to add toughness to the team.
   “Top to bottom, I think I have a great group of guys,” Lowenbach said. “It will be interesting to see how we end up competing and how everything falls together after a week or two of practice.”
   Last year, the Cowboys played at a slow, deliberate pace. Now, with all the size and experience, Lowenbach is expecting to turn up the heat on the opposition.
   “Having that many guys who can play will give us some options,” he said. “We are going to try to wear some people down and put some pressure on them. We will probably run a little bit more than in the past.”
   The Cowboys open play tonight at Madras. The team is at home Saturday when they take on the Sisters Outlaws in a 7 p.m. contest.