2018-19 Team Preview: Connell Eagles
SF/PF Silas Chase - He's a four year starter that will do it all. Multiple time All Leaguer. Only a couple points away from reaching 1,000 for his career. He's a true MVP candidate.
SF Austin Smith - A walking double/double. Will do the dirty work defending the bigs and grabbing rebounds. Second team All League returner.
SG Ridge Pauley - High finesse player. Tremendous three point shooter that's described as having Stephen Curry-esque range. One of the most skilled players on the team.
As far as pure experience, this may be the most veteran group in the state. An astounding ten seniors return, and this is definitely a good thing.
Head coach Devin O'Brien took over the program in 2014, and he believes this is they year they've been building towards.
Last year this team finished 13-10, and it's now become common place to finish a few games over .500. If there was a time to buck that trend, now is it.
Perhaps their biggest roadblock to winning the South Central Conference is Royal. The Eagles suffered back to back losses to the Knights last season.
Given the Eagles talent returning, they certainly have the potential to reverse that trend.
All five starters return, including three All League players and nearly the entire bench.
Highlighting the first unit will be the trio of Silas Chase, Austin Smith, and Ridge Pauley.
They're the first class to be brought up through O'Brien's system exclusively. It should almost be expected that those three guys ended up on the All League lists again.
Complementing them in the starting lineup will be two high power players in their own right, Payton Riner and Nolan Chase.
Riner is going into his third year as the starting point guard. He's earned a high level of trust, and will continue to manage the flow of the game.
The responsibilities of Chase will be similar to Riner's. He may be the fastest player on the court at any given time.
The sixth man in this group is going to be 6-1 forward James Colclasure. What makes him valuable is his ability to play any position.
Anytime this team needs a quick three-pointer, Colclasure's name is going be called. Could be a starter on most other teams.
The sole junior on this roster is Ethan Morrill, and he's expected to be a contributor. Primarily his minutes will come from spelling Riner at point guard.
A couple other players expected to get looks off the bench are senior forwards Cutter Easterday, Tony Herrmann, Andy Castillo, and Camren Chase.
The playing style of this group is going to be controlling the pace, and letting their athletes take over games.
This teams has a relatively light schedule. A couple non-conference games against Sunnyside Christian and Tri-Cities Prep will elevate their game.
Projection: There should be no doubt that this team is going to improve on last year's 13-10 record. It's likely they'll win three quarters of there games, which would throw them smack in the middle of the state playoff picture. Their games against Royal will be a great measuring stick. It's safe to say they're still a tier below teams like Zillah and Lynden Christian. If they can make it to the Dome, they'll have to pull out all the tricks.
Sunnyside Christian 12/21
@ Wahluke 1/19
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