Key Players

G/F Garrett Streufert - One of the most dynamic players in the MCC. At 6-6 can play all five spots. First team all-league returner that will do it all. 

SG/SF Cole Northrop - Going into his fourth year on varsity. Led the team in scoring last year, and can do it again. Can shoot the three and also drive inside. Has already surpassed the 1,000 point mark in his career.

PG/SG Cody Sanderson - Second team all conference returner. Brings a football player mentality to the court. One of the strongest players in the league. Can be counted on to score and play tough defense.

Overview

One thing that stands out about this year’s Bombers squad is they may actually roll out 12 seniors on opening night.

It’s a testament to the legacy the program has. They’ve been to 11 straight state tournaments, and compiled a record of 185-50 during that span.

This is something that everyone wants to be apart of.

The man in charge, Earl Streufert, is truly one of the most respected head coaches you’ll find. He’s been apart of Richland education for over 30 years, and has been coaching the basketball team since 1998.

Richland’s previous season came to a brutal end, as they almost pulled a slight upset over Anton Watson and Gonzaga Prep. It was a 53-50 overtime loss in the semi-finals.

Don’t expect them to use that as motivation however. This is a team that expects to return to the big dance every year.

If there’s one thing that’s going to hurt the team from a ‘marketability’ standpoint, it’s the subtraction of 7-4 center Riley Sorn. He’s now playing for the University of Washington.

Streufert believes this will force his team to go back to their roots. This includes more aggressive defense, as opposed to just allowing Sorn to protect the rim.

He’s been impressed by the off-season guard Dhaunye Guice has had. A light rotational piece last year, Guice should slide into the point guard role this year.

The biggest scoring threats are likely to be the trio of Streufert, Northrop and Sanderson. They all have a wealth of experience going into their fourth season together. 

A disappointing early loss this season is 5-10 guard Nathan Mitchell. He tore his ACL during football season, and won’t have a chance to return for basketball.

If the season started today, taking his place in the starting lineup would be 6-3 wing Connor Hofstad. He’s a tremendous shooter with plenty of range.

Coming off the bench will be a bevy of talent that excel in different categories. 6-4 senior Jack Schuster will give teams fits with his tenacious defense and rebounding ability.

Newcomers Taylor Johnson and Matt Kump should also carve out roles for themselves this season.

Projection: No doubt this is the team to beat still in the Mid-Columbia conference. They might seem undersized with the loss of Riley Sorn, but don’t let that deceive you. There are plenty of strong players in the 6-3 to 6-6 range that litter this roster. This is a well-conditioned group that’s going to run the floor. It’s hard to say another team in the MCC has improved leaps and bounds this off-season, so Richland is a safe pre-season pick. Chalk them up for another 20 plus wins and a deep playoff run.

Key games

@ Chiawana 12/14

@ Hermiston 1/4

Walla Walla 1/19

For more Eastside Basketball previews, follow me on Twitter! @micah_chen