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New-look Indians boys' basketball will open with Seven-Mile War

Six players return with first-year coach Powers, look to make state for the fifth year in a row


SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: JAKE MCNEAL - First-year Indians coach Weston Powers and Tanner Kramer can help drive the Indians back to Class 4A state for the fifth year in a row.SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: JAKE MCNEAL - Jerad Toman will run the point as one of six players back from last year's fifth-place run at Class 4A state.SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: JAKE MCNEAL - Joey Wagenknecht is back as an all-Cowapa League junior guard.Weston Powers is in the right place at the right time.

The new Indians head coach will begin his first run as seniors Tanner Kramer, Michael Gift and Nate Rieman (guards), Fisher Nuss (a wing) and juniors Jerad Toman and Joey Wagenknecht (guards) are back from last year's fifth-place Class 4A state run.

Powers, a Scappoose football, basketball, golf and track and field all-leaguer in the Class of 2007, was awarded his new title as Rahim Tufts joined Class 6A Sherwood this spring.

The four-year assistant helped the Tribe to its fourth state championship two years ago, and he's lent his talents to Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum camps at the Beaverton Hoop YMCA.

"As far as [this season's] playing style, I won't be looking to change much," Powers said. "I am not the type of coach who likes to force a style of play on players. I feel like as a coach you must adapt to the abilities of your team and take advantage of your strengths."

Jack Margheim and AJ Miltich (senior guards), Hunter Holmason (a senior forward), Chris Bendle and Nicky Gill (junior forwards), William Cunningham and Bradley Verbout (junior centers) are here to help the Indians reach at least the state play-in for the fifth year in a row.

"I'm looking forward to seeing how we compete," said Toman, who ran the point last year before being sidelined with a hand injury in the home stretch. "We are really small this year but we have a lot of good, fast athletes, so I'm just excited to see how we all mesh together."

Cunningham (6-foot-2) and Verbout (6-foot-1) are the tallest after all-state pick Ian Donaldson and all-leaguer Boogie Davis — both 6-foot-3 — respectively graduated and transferred to Class 6A Westview.

Wagenknecht, a 5-foot-10 all-leaguer, made the All-Passing Team in his second College Exposure Showcase in September at Forest Grove High.

"I learned a lot from college coaches, like what it takes to be a student athlete at the next level and eating right to help your body perform," Wagenknecht said. "We have a smaller lineup, but we will look to run on offense and look for our shots. I feel like we will have a great season because we have a bunch of new guys who have a lot of potential."

The Indians will open at home against St. Helens which, despite winning three games last year, pulled the upset at home and have taken three of five since 2011.

From there, the Tribe plays at play-in round qualifier Madras, enters a home-and-away with returning state champion Philomath, heads to play-in rounders Molalla and Cascade and plays at Gladstone, which beat the Indians for third in the state last year.

Scappoose runs into challenging Cowapa League play with home-and-aways against state runner-up Seaside, play-in finisher Valley Catholic and fourth-place Astoria.

The Indians will contend for the league championship, but all-leaguers Kyle Strange and Olaf Englund are two of Astoria's seven seniors looking to replace Seaside atop the heap.

"This season we will have great overall team speed, and we also shoot the ball very well from the outside as a team," Powers said. "We don't have a ton of size down low, and all of our bigs are capable of shooting the ball well. We will look to take advantage this and spread other teams' bigs out of the key. We will look to utilize our team speed by mixing it up on defense with a lot of presses, traps, and unique defensive schemes."

Scappoose Indians

Coach: Weston Powers (first year)

Classification: Class 4A, Cowapa League

2015-16 finish: 20-9 overall, 6-4 Cowapa League (finished fifth in state tournament)

Key returners: Tanner Kramer, sr., G; Michael Gift, sr., G; Nate Rieman, sr., G; Fisher Nuss, sr., W; Jerad Toman, jr., G; Joey Wagenknecht, jr., G.

Key newcomers: Jack Margheim, sr., G; AJ Miltich, sr. G; Hunter Holmason, sr., F; Chris Bendle, jr., F; Nicky Gill, jr., F; William Cunningham, jr., C; Bradley Verbout, jr., C.

Schedule

Dec. 2 St. Helens at Scappoose, 7:30 p.m.

Dec. 6 Scappoose at Madras

Dec. 9 North Marion at Scappoose, 6 p.m.

Dec. 13 Scappoose at Corbett, 7:30 p.m.

Dec. 15 Post Falls (Idaho) at Scappoose, 7 p.m.

Dec. 20 Scappoose at Philomath, 7 p.m.

Dec. 28-30 Scappoose at Hidden Valley Tournament, in Grants Pass

Jan. 3 Scappoose at Molalla, 7:30 p.m.

Jan. 6 Scappoose at Cascade, in Turner

Jan. 10 Philomath at Scappoose, 6 p.m.

Jan. 13 Scappoose at Gladstone, 7:30 p.m.

Jan. 17 Seaside at Scappoose, 6 p.m. *

Jan. 19 Scappoose at Tillamook, 6 p.m. *

Jan. 24 Banks at Scappoose, 6 p.m. *

Jan. 27 Valley Catholic at Scappoose, 6 p.m. *

Jan. 31 Scappoose at Astoria, 6 p.m. *

Feb. 3 Scappoose at Seaside, 7:30 p.m. *

Feb. 7 Tillamook at Scappoose, 7:30 p.m. *

Feb. 10 Scappoose at Banks, 7:30 p.m. *

Feb. 14 Scappoose at Valley Catholic, 7:30 p.m., in Beaverton *

Feb. 16 Astoria at Scappoose, 7:30 p.m. *

* - Cowapa League game