Posted On: 11/27/18 7:00 AM
The 2018-19 season is upon us and it’s time to take a look at the top leagues in the state. We kick things off with 6A and the Metro League, which despite some changes due to classification and districting, should remain one of the most competitive conferences in the state.
As usual, the Metro League was one of the top conferences in 6A. Southridge and Jesuit were in a dogfight for the coveted league title all season long and a late win by the Skyhawks over the Crusaders helped Southridge capture the championship outright. Five teams in all qualified for the post-season with Southridge and Jesuit advancing to the Chiles Center, where the Skyhawks captured the fourth place trophy. Beaverton senior Jake Estep captured Player of the Year honors, was named to the Oregonian’s First Team All-State squad, and signed with Western Oregon. Southridge senior big man Filip Fullerton earned Second Team All-State honors and signed with Portland State.
Changes for 2018-19
During summer classification and districting, the league lost Century, Glencoe, and Liberty to the new Pacific Conference but picked up Mountainside, who will be playing their very first varsity schedule.
State Tournament Threats
Southridge – The Skyhawks are coming off a historic season but while they lose three starters (most notably Fullerton, who became the school’s first-ever Division I signee) they do return arguably the two best players in the league in senior wings Brock Henry and Zach Galvin. While the size advantage is gone, head coach Phil Vesel does return quite a few guys with years of varsity experience in seniors Kade Hustler, Ben Pak, and Pono Van Dusen, and look for the Skyhawks to really push the tempo and put full court pressure on defense.
Jesuit – As long as Gene Potter is heading up the Crusaders, Jesuit will be in the mix for the Metro League title and a state tournament appearance. Three starters leave the program but there is plenty coming back for Jesuit to be in the Metro League title conversation. Senior forward Justin Bieker really emerged over the summer as a breakout performer and senior guard Aiden Williams is back to fill it up from three-point range. The talent level is deep in the program and some younger players should emerge as they get more experience this year.
Sunset – The Apollos snuck into the post-season last year as the #32 team but it should be easier in 2018-19. The reason why is they have two key components to a team that can contend – a quality big man and a steady floor leader. At 6-foot-6, senior Will Reese will be the main main in the paint on both ends and returning First Team All-League honoree junior point guard Braeden Sato will run the point for head coach Todd Sherwood. Sunset also has the most size in a league that doesn’t have a lot of it this year. The key is who else steps up to be an offensive threat – senior guard Sam Mulheim, senior post Tristan Rainbolt, and junior Colby King are the main candidates.
Beaverton – The Beavers had an excellent fall, winning the HoopSource Fall League title. Head coach Andrew Vancil doesn’t have much in size but what they lack in height they’ll more than make up for with shooting and experience – and the offense will be more balanced with the departure of Estep to college. In particular, senior wing Mason Stewart-Carothers can really fill it up from beyond the arc and junior forward John Oleson is rock-solid from mid-range on out. Senior point guard Isaac Rosenthal will run things from the point and some younger players like junior Bennett Giebels and sophomore Dane Erikstrup will step up in the frontcourt.
Westview – Head coach Michael Wolf is in his second year with the Wildcats and while he loses the raw size and presence of Jack Poling, he has several returnees that should keep Westview in contention for the playoff spot. Senior Kobe Newton could be one of the top scoring threats in the league and fellow seniors Olajuwon Esuk and Koby Hawley will provide good support. Junior Wayne Jamison has potential at multiple positions and Wolf may have the top freshman in the league in Keshav Anand, a 6-foot-2 lefty sharpshooter.
Aloha – Head coach David Saultz is slowly building things at Aloha. The Warriors have an all-league type player in senior wing Cobi Wilson but the defensive stopper will need to be more offensive minded this year. The rest of the squad is filled with athletes from other sports but the fact that open gyms this fall were bursting with bodies is a good sign for the program.
Mountainside – Head coach Dustin Hewitt is throwing his first year varsity program to the wolves but the Mavericks will definitely make things entertaining. Look for Mountainside to run and gun with junior big man Andrew Ingalls and junior guard Nzube Mekkam as the two main guys to watch after playing high-profile AAU basketball this summer.
Player of the Year
Brock Henry, Southridge. The senior may have elevated his play more than anyone else over the summer. Playing with Nike Team Northwest and in various camps, the 6-foot-4 wing impressed many a college coach with his combination of athleticism and ability to shoot from long range. Instead of being a supporting cast member, Henry will now be a primary offensive threat for the Skyhawks and there’s no reason to believe he won’t be up to the challenge.
All-League Predictions: Henry; Zach Galvin, Southridge; Justin Bieker, Jesuit; Braeden Sato, Sunset; Mason Stewart-Carothers, Beaverton
Andrew Ingalls, Mountainside. The Mavericks will be shooting a lot of threes, but as the tallest guy on the team the junior big man will clean up on the boards and should also get plenty of baskets in transition.
Expect the title race to be between Jesuit and Southridge and it come down to the end of the season, although the last game between takes place fairly early on February 1st. The difference between the two comes down to who has the best player and that advantage goes to Southridge with Brock Henry. Both teams are favorites to quality for the state tournament as well, where each may not have enough to capture the state title but can win a trophy. Sunset, Beaverton, and Westview should challenge for a playoff berth and each has the potential to win a game in the post-season.