Team: King's School Knights
League: 2A/1A Cascade
Coach: Bill Liley
Key Returners: Wilson Dodlier, 6-8 Senior, C; Evan Sabo, 5-10 Senior, G; Austin Porcello, 6-0 Junior, G
Impact Newcomers: Kyle Sawtell, 6-3 Sophomore, F; Caleb Taylor, 6-2 Sophomore, G
A look back:
The Knights made their fifth consecutive state tournament appearance in 2009, after winning the Cascade Conference and District 1 titles.
All five starters from last season graduated and King's returns only four lettermen from last year.
King's has become the lead dog in the 2A/1A Cascade Conference, despite having one of the smaller enrollments of the eight member schools.
The Knights regained the conference title last season after finishing second in 2009.
Overall, the Knights have won their league five of the past six seasons and have made the state tournament five years in a row, finishing sixth last season and second two years ago.
Even with all of the recent success, Coach Bill Liley believes his team does a superb job of staying in the moment and not resting on their laurels.
"Our biggest deal is that we try to build on each year", said Liley.
The Knights lost six seniors to graduation, two of whom were All-State in 2009. But the expectations remain the same for Liley and his staff regardless of youth or inexperience.
"We have a standard of play, so with that standard comes a responsibility for a coaches and players to uphold that. The secret to our success is that our kids start playing together really early. Some of them play together when they're in Kindergarten, so they kind of grow with this game together."
The advantages of playing together since childhood in the King's program is evident in the team oriented brand of defense that Liley's squad plays.
Winning the Cascade Conference is their first goal, but the importance of finishing the job at state is not lost on the King's coach.
"To be able to get to state, come home with a trophy and when it's really good, you get to come home with that big trophy."
Top Tickets: @ Cedarcrest, 7pm Tuesday 1/4; Archbishop Murphy, 7pm Friday 1/7; Lakewood, 7pm Tuesday 1/18; 1A District Tournament, TBD Thursday 2/10, Saturday 2/12, Saturday 2/19
Team: Shorecrest Scots
League: 3A Wesco
Coach: Brian Fischer
Key Returners: Emmanuel Chibuogwu Jr., 6-6 Junior, F; Ryan Canfield, 5-10 Junior, G
Impact Newcomers: Liam O'Neill, 6-2 Sophomore, F; Dylan Pontrello, 6-3 Sophomore, F
A look back:
The Scots didn't wait long to begin building on their success in 2009.During the summer, Shorecrest players and coaches took a trip to San Juaquin, Costa Rica for an outreach project that involved connecting with local youths and building brand new outdoor basketball courts.
Shorecrest has to be seen as one of the favorites in 3A Wesco and an early season win over 4A playoff contender Edmonds-Woodway will no doubt put the rest of the conference on notice. It is likely that the Scots will go as far as Emmanuel Chibuogwu Jr. will take them.
Chibuogwu has a smooth offensive game to go along with a tenacity and work ethic that makes him a dominant rebounder, especially on the offensive glass.
Top Tickets: Meadowdale, 7:30pm Tuesday 12/21; @ Shorewood, 7:30pm Saturday 1/22; @ Meadowdale, 7:30pm Tuesday 1/25; Everett, 7:30pm Thursday 2/3
Team: Shorewood Thunderbirds
League: 3A Wesco
Coach: Marv Morris
Key Returners: Peter Berquist, 6-6 Senior, C; Blake Snell, 6-4 Senior, F
Impact Newcomers: Zane Hopen, 6-2 Freshman, G; Anxhelos Pere, 5-4 Freshman, G
A look back:
The Thunderbirds season was highlighted by an early victory over Meadowdale and a sweep of Edmonds-Woodway.
But inconsistency plagued the T-Birds all season and ultimately cost them a chance to realize their playoff dreams.
With a core of juniors and seniors returning for this season, the T-Birds have plenty to be excited for in 2010.
Only freshman guard Anxhelos Pere is listed under 6' tall.
The Thunderbirds will rely on big men Josh Hawkinson (6-8) , Levi Kohler (6-6) and Peter Berquist (6-6) to control the glass and force opposing teams to make jump shots on a regular basis.
Top Tickets: @ Shorecrest, 7:30pm Thursday 12/16; Glacier Peak, 7:30pm Tuesday 1/4; Meadowdale, 7:30pm Tuesday 1/11; Shorecrest, 7:30 Saturday 1/22
Team: Shoreline Christian Crusaders
League: 1A/2B Northwest Conference
Coach: Steve Call (third season)
Key Returners: Travis Hudson, 5-11 Senior, G; Keith Jacobs, 5-11 Senior, G
Impact Newcomers: Brooks Drollinger, 6-1 Junior, F
A look back:
The Crusaders had a great deal of success in 2009 and were a 3-point overtime loss away from a place in the 2B State Tournament.
Building on that foundation in 2010 will be a core group of players who saw extended playing time last season, including six seniors.
The Crusaders are forced to manage some unique challenges throughout the season in many regards.
"We are a very small school (around 100 students in grades 9-12), often competing against schools double or triple our size," coach Steve Call said.
The Crusaders enrollment forces them to compete against schools as far as Darrington and Orcas Island for league contests.
"The boys continue to manage the intense academic rigors of SCS while playing a varsity sport which can obviously be challenging at times, especially with our extensive travel time for away games."
Top Tickets: @ Cedar Park Christian, 7:30pm Tuesday 1/4; Darrington, 7:45pm Friday 1/14; @ Seattle Christian, 6pm Saturday 1/22