Westside Christian boys team young, but ready to go
TIGARD — The Eagles may be young, but they're ready to go.
And they're set to make their mark in a new league.
The Westside Christian High School basketball team, which will be part of the Lewis & Clark League this season, is taking some high hopes into the 2018-19 campaign.
"Westside Christian is a young, but talented team looking to make some noise in a new league," Westside Christian coach David Henry said. "We are returning four players that started at least a third of our games last year. Eight of our 13 players are underclassmen, so the learning curve will be steep, and we expect to see significant improvement throughout the year."
The Eagles do have some key returnees back from last year's squad that finished in a tie for sixth place in the West Valley League at 3-11 (5-21 overall).
Among those returnees is sophomore guard Luke Jun (5-foot-7), who was fifth in scoring in the West Valley League with a 14.6 points-per-game average.
"We are expecting him to lead our team in scoring, but also utilize his much improved defense to balance our team out," Henry said. "He is clearly the leader on this team, and we are excited to watch him flourish in that role out from his brother's shadow."
Junior forward D.L. Scales (6-4) also returns.
"He is also poised to have a breakout year," Henry said. "He has put in more work in the offseason than anyone else, and has physically transformed himself. He is a force to be reckoned with down low, and we are expecting him to live up to his goals of an all-league performer."
Returning senior guard Elijah Alexander (6-0) looks to be another leader for the Eagles.
"He is back with his tenacious defense, and stated his desire to be an all-league defender," Henry said. "We will rely on his length and quickness on the defensive end every single night, and his slashing ability around the hoop to be a great contributor."
Other returnees for Westside Christian include sophomore guard Noah Lammers (5-11), sophomore guard Landon Snodgrass (6-0), senior guard Jake Mager (5-11) and sophomore forward Andrew Hollis (6-3).
Among the newcomers to the Westside Christian varsity are sophomore guard Jay Shippy (5-10), freshman guard Justice Jackson (6-2), freshman guard Landon Thom (6-0), freshman guard Jamison Poindexter (5-10), senior forward Max Romines (6-4) and senior forward Taylor Dovers (6-4).
"Also adding some depth and experience are seniors Jake Mager, Max Romines, and Taylor Dovers," Henry said. "We are excited about their experience, as well as the size and leadership they bring to our roster."
That leadership could be just one of the strengths of the Eagles this season.
"We feel that we are much deeper than we have been the last several years," Henry said. "We are hoping to utilize that depth to wear teams down. We have a lot of young talent, which is a strength, but also where the question marks come into play. We believe our kids will be able to adjust to the speed of the high school/varsity game well, but there is always some learning that comes with that."
As for its initial season in the Lewis & Clark League, Westside Christian is looking at some strong competition.
"This will be our first year in the Lewis & Clark League, and everyone will be chasing defending (Class 3A) state Champion De La Salle North Catholic," Henry said. "Our goal is to finish in the top four, take care of our non-league schedule and use the strength of schedule to get into the state playoffs via an at-large bid. We believe we are a year or so away from contending for the league title, and an automatic berth. However, our kids are playing with a big chip on their shoulder, so they may surprise you."
Westside Christian will open its season on Friday, when it hosts Taft in a non-league game starting at 6 p.m. On Saturday, the Eagles will be home to face Faith Bible at 4:30 p.m.