Key Players

G/F Garrett Long - Long has been a budding star for a couple years now. This year he appears set to burst onto the scene as one of 4A’s best. This 6-foot-1 junior is a First Team All League Returner, and he can get it done in all facets of the game. 

PF/C Chase Loidhammer - Loidhammer is a big, strong athlete at 6-foot-6, 220-pounds. There’s high expectations on him to be a defensive star, and rack up the rebounds. He should also have a lot of success on the offensive side. 

PG Nathan Blauman - Highly dependable senior who’s coming off a Second Team All League season. He’s a well built 200-pounder, so he can definitely matchup against other point guards in the league. Should see an uptick in scoring this year. 

Overview

The Wenatchee Panthers enter the 2019-20 campaign as the defending Big Nine champs. But because they won the league by a razor-thin margin, and were outed in the first round of state, they are not riding a massive wave of momentum into this season.

Make no mistake however, this is still a dangerous team with a very talented roster returning. They actually return three All-League talents, which is a very good number in basketball.

The head coach of the Panthers, Travis Williams, is now entering his sixth year at the helm. He believes that the potential is high with his team, and that there’s a lot of unfinished business coming off of last season.

Both he and his players are hungry to wreak havoc in the Big Nine. Like many teams in the Big Nine, there’s a nice balance of proven commodities, and players eager to prove themselves. 

Definitely one of those proven commodities is Garrett Long. He’s been a star player these last couple years, but now entering his junior year, he’s shouldering more of a leadership role in the program. On the court, the strength of his lies in his scoring. 

A couple guards expected to see a lot of minutes is 6-foot junior Joe Dorey and senior Logan Bailey. Dorey was a reliable shooter all year last season, while Bailey is set to make an impact in his first varsity season.

Running the show is going to be a workhorse point guard in Nathan Blauman. He is very consistent and will be able to keep his team in just about every game. 

Another player that will be looking to make a name for himself is 6-foot-5 sophomore Camden Loidhammer. He had a tremendous football season, and will be looking to carry that momentum into hoops season. 

One thing to like about this team is the tremendous size they have. Outside of the Loidhammer bros, who are absolute towers, they will also be rolling out 6-foot-6, 230-pound senior Logan Nelson. He has some varsity experience from last year, and should provide a lot of quality minutes.  

It’s worth noting the talent that won’t be returning for this year’s Wenatchee team. This includes Evan Smith, Riley Kunz, and JJ Jelsing. Obviously there’s no sense in playing the what-if game, but it'll be interesting to see how much they miss that depth. 

Projection

A nice reality for teams in the Big Nine this year is there are two playoff berths. This does not mean that teams can phone in games, but it’s also not life or death every single game. Wenatchee has some heavy competition for those top two seeds in teams like Davis and Eastmont. The Davis-Eastmont rivalry should only get more heated, as there matchups will likely decide a lot. This is one of the most talented rosters in the league, so if they play at their potential, they have a good chance to repeat as champs. 

Key Games

@ Davis 12/20

@ Eastmont 1/10

Moses Lake 2/14

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