Jesuit hopes to add to its streaks of four league and state titles

Questions abound at the outset of every sports season and that’s true again in 2013 as the Metro League boys basketball season gets ready to tip off.

But in truth, there’s one question that most of the league’s coaches have already answered — to a man, they’ve pegged four-time defending state champion Jesuit as the favorite to repeat. The Crusaders, also four-time defending Metro champs, went 10-0 in league last year and ran their state winning streak to 12 straight MILES VANCE - BACK FOR MORE - Jesuit senior guard Khyan Rayner is back to lead the Crusaders in search of a fifth straight Metro League and Class 6A state title after being named Metro Player of the Year in 2012.

“Until someone knocks Jesuit off, they are the number one team,” said Beaverton coach Jeff Bennett. “They have two of the best guards in the state and they are probably the best defensive team in the state as well.”

“As a four-time defending league and state champion, with the returning league Player of the Year and the Coach of the Year, you have to pick Jesuit,” said Sunset coach Todd Sherwood.

For their part, the Crusaders are well aware of how tough the Metro League is, but feel like they have a shot at winning yet again.

“One of the team goals is always to compete for the league title, and I think we’ll be in the mix,” said Jesuit coach Gene Potter.

There’s talent elsewhere in the league, though, with Southridge and Sunset mentioned most often as teams that might challenge Jesuit’s dominance.

“Sunset and Southridge should have strong seasons with the good experience they have back,” said Westview coach Pat Coons.

“Southridge, with their returning ballplayers, will also contend for (a playoff) spot, in addition to Sunset with their experience,” added Aloha coach Antoine Shired.

Beyond that trio, Westview features one of the league’s best players in Dyrall Goods, Beaverton appears to be on the rise, and Aloha will almost certainly be better in Shired’s second season at the Warriors’ helm.

Following are previews of the Metro League’s varsity boys basketball teams.


ALOHA — The 2011-12 season was, to say the least, a challenge for the Aloha boys basketball team.

Adjusting to a new coach, a revamped lineup, and playing in the toughest league in the state, the Warriors went winless in Metro play and just 1-24 overall.

Aloha faces some similar tests in year two of head coach Antoine Shired’s tenure, with a roster that features just two returning varsity players and still must deal with the ever-tough Metro League. Nonetheless, the Warriors are ready to compete.

“We will play hard and give it our all every night and just see where the cards may fall,” said Shired, previously a head coach at Hillsboro and longtime assistant at Westview and Beaverton.

This year’s Warriors will be led by those two returners — 6-foot-2 junior wing Edgar Guerra and 6-0 junior wing Nick Christopherson — as well as by 5-10 junior wing Hudson Van Allen and 6-2 junior wing Terrell Gayhart.

Our “team leaders are Edgar Guerra, Hudson Van Allen, Terrell Gayhart and Nick Christopherson,” Shired said. “However, I consider all 12 to be my best ballplayers.”

Joining that group in the regular playing rotation will be 5-9 junior Jay Garmondeh at guard, 6-1 sophomore Connor Bennett at wing, 6-6 sophomore Steve Boswell at post, 5-10 sophomore Keith Hunter at guard, and 6-2 sophomore Jadden Lake at wing.

Also due for varsity time this year are 6-2 sophomore wing James Johnson, 6-3 junior post Antonio Torres, and 6-2 senior post Marcus Bernabei.


BEAVERTON — The past two years of Metro League play haven’t been particularly kind to the Beaverton boys basketball team.

The Beavers won just twice in Metro play last year, and went winless the year before that. But this year, led by new coach Jeff Bennett — he previously served as the team’s assistant coach — Beaverton is hoping for bigger and better things.

“We feel we can be very competitive in the Metro League,” Bennett said. “We would love to be able to compete for one of those automatic playoff spots, but playing in the Metro League, it’s just so tough to tell.”

This year, the Beavers will follow the lead of 6-foot-1 senior guard Joey Losk — he was a second-team all-Metro pick last year — 6-4 senior post Davasyia Hagger and 6-1 junior guard Martin Tannler.

Losk “has a quick shot and he can score in a variety of ways,” Bennett said, adding that Hagger “has grown and developed into the best athlete we have,” while Tannler “makes us go. He’s become very unselfish and is all about getting his teammates shots.”

The rest of the regular rotation will include 6-0 junior guard Nick Alonzo, 6-3 junior guard Ty Peacock and 6-4 senior forward Hakeem Bradley.

“For us it all comes down to how well we can defend,” Bennett said. “If we can maintain our defensive focus for four quarters, then we will be pretty tough.”

Also due for varsity time are 6-6 sophomore forward Jared Hilbers, 6-3 sophomore forward Bryce Barker, 5-8 sophomore guard Conner Brands, 6-3 senior forward Stephen Kearns, 6-0 senior guard Duncan Cashmer, and 6-2 junior guard Sam Parker.


BEAVERTON — Jesuit has been on a roll like no other team in Oregon history over the past four years.

Indeed, the Crusaders became the first big-school team in state history to win three straight state championships, then upped the ante with another title in 2012.

Now, Jesuit is hoping to do it all again.

“It’s kind of mystery how we’ll do, but I don’t think people expected us to get to the last game last year,” said Jesuit coach Gene Potter.

The Crusaders bring back the Metro Player of the Year in 5-11 senior guard Khyan Rayner, another all-leaguer in 5-11 senior guard Xavier Coleman, and a third returning starter in 6-3 senior wing Sean Milligan. Also back with experience are from last year’s state tournament team are 6-5 junior post Henry Mondeaux, 6-0 junior guard Daniel Nelson, 6-4 sophomore guard Ryan Bay, and 6-0 junior guard Jack Bell.

“I think we’ll be very similar to last year, although we may not be able to pressure as much out front because we don’t have the big eraser (graduated post Collin Spickerman) in the back,” Potter said. “But we’ll use Khyan and ‘X’ and their quickness out front to the best of our ability.”

Also set for big minutes are 6-6 junior post Jack Nadelhoffer, 6-4 senior post Cooper Sprunk and 6-1 junior wing Jordan Blue, along with 6-1 senior guard Connor Leahy, and 6-3 senior post Michael Mueller.

“We just hope to do what we did last year and keep getting better all year long,” Potter added.


BEAVERTON — To describe Southridge’s boys basketball history as checkered could rightly be considered an insult to one of America’s great board MILES VANCE - SKY-HIGH SKYHAWK - Southridge senior Caleb Herzberg led the Metro League in scoring last year and hopes to lead the Skyhawks to a Class 6A state tournament berth in 2013.

In 2012, the Skyhawks reached the first round of the state playoffs for the first time since 2008 and for just the third time in their school’s 13-year history.

But Southridge — which reached the state tournament and finished seventh in its lone tourney appearance back in 2003 — is hoping to change all that in 2012-13.

“After finishing tied for second in the Metro last season, our team is focused on competing for a league title,” said Southridge coach Phil Vesel, whose team lost to Sheldon in last year’s first playoff round.

This year’s Skyhawks will be led by returning all-leaguers Caleb Herzberg (a 5-foot-11 senior wing who topped the Metro in scoring last year and won first-team honors) and 6-4 senior wing Kevin McClean (a third-teamer), along with another returning starter in 6-5 senior wing Caleb Dozier.

“McClean is an all-around player for our team. He is a great defender and rebounder,” Vesel said, adding that Dozier “can score inside and outside, play multiple positions and is our leading rebounder.”

Junior AJ Monterossi (5-10) will also join the starting lineup, along with 6-8 junior post Griff Christensen and 6-1 senior wing Justin Calo. The rest of the Skyhawks’ lineup will include 6-0 junior guard Grant Giraldi, 6-0 junior wing Alex Beekman, 5-8 senior wing David Kim, 5-11 junior wing Aly Elmansy, and 6-0 junior wing Davin Pease.


CEDAR MILL — Sunset most certainly did not finish where it wanted to at the end of the 2012 season.

The Apollos, one of the Metro League’s best teams over the past decade, finished just 3-7 and fourth in Metro play a year ago, then were ousted in the first round of the state playoffs.

But Sunset appears set for a comeback in 2012-13, aiming for another playoff berth and — the Apollos hope — a much longer stay once they get to the second season.

“The league is tough, and every night poses a difficult and unique challenge,” said Sunset coach Todd Sherwood. But “we hope we can be peaking during league play and challenge for an automatic playoff berth.”

This year’s Apollo crew will be led by the trio of 5-foot-10 senior guard Joe McFerrin III (a third-team all-leaguer in 2012), 6-8 junior forward/center Tyler Gutierrez and 6-4 junior guard Taylor Harris.

Gutierrez is a “good scorer in post, and changes shots around the basket,” Sherwood said, adding that McFerrin “does a great job getting people involved,” while Harris “loves the challenge of defending the best player on the other team and he can score multiple ways.”

There’s more talent on hand too, where the Apollos will also count on 6-4 junior forward Jeff Bieber, 6-4 junior guard Michael Kerns, 5-11 senior guard Daniel Duitsman, 6-7 senior center Adam Mead, 6-0 senior guard Ryan Hendry and 6-5 senior guard Jonathan Willes.

Also due for varsity time this year will be 6-0 junior guard Charles Wenzel, 5-11 sophomore guard Willy Pflug, and 5-9 senior guard Tucker Hutchinson.


ROCK CREEK — Westview has been right there with Oregon’s best for a very long time, reaching the state tournament seven times in the past 12 years and finishing second in both 2010 and 2011.

The Wildcats would dearly love to recreate that success again in 2012-13, but know there’s a lot of hard work ahead if they hope to get there.

“This team has good chemistry, but is lacking experience ... playing varsity basketball,” said Westview coach Pat Coons, the team’s only head coach since its inception back in 1994-95. It “will take some time to get used to the level of competition.”

Still, the team has both experience and talent in its backcourt where three-year letterman Dyrall Goods (a 6-2 senior guard who won first-team all-league honors in 2012) and 6-0 senior guard Isiah Denson — the team’s only other varsity returner — will run the show this year.

“Dyrall is the best player on the team and has tremendous amounts of experience, so he will be relied upon to lead us through the season,” Coons said, adding that Denson “had an excellent off-season and is ready to lead. He is a strong shooter, very good driver and plays strong defense.”

The rest of the Cats’ varsity rotation will include 6-4 senior forward Mitch McConnell, 6-3 sophomore forward Alex Carrick, 6-2 senior forward Julius Rucker, 6-0 junior wing Ben Larson, 6-1 junior forward Trent Glasgow, 5-8 senior guard Ray Ayo, and 5-9 senior guard Julian Ford.

“They have excellent attitudes and work ethic, but they are (still) learning to play hard and compete on every possession,” Coons said. The “key to our success is to ride out the highs and the lows, stay confident and improve all season.”

Also ready for varsity time are 5-11 senior wing Matt Walker, 5-11 senior guard Austin Wegner, 6-1 senior wing Weston Leach, 6-1 junior wing Brendan Ralston and 6-0 junior wing Mitch Kekel.

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