Four starters set Hornets up for a productive year

Junior A.J. Rice is one of several players  returning for the  Hornets. - Courier-Herald file photo
Junior A.J. Rice is one of several players returning for the Hornets.
— image credit: Courier-Herald file photo

With six varsity players back for another year of action, including four starters, the White River Hornets will look to climb in the South Puget Sound League 3A boys basketball standings.

The Hornets traveled a rocky road a season ago, the first campaign under veteran coach Bill Hawk, who made his mark at nearby Enumclaw High before spending a few seasons outside the area.

This time around, Hawk is working with a varsity roster that includes seniors Nolan Gibson (6-3, guard), Casey Zimmer (5-8, guard), Bill Rohler (6-6, post) and Kenneth Thomas (6-3, wing); and juniors Chad Sayler (5-7, guard), Mat Dickson (5-9, guard), A.J. Rice (6-4, post), Blake Halvorsen (6-3, wing), Jake Bailiff (6-3, wing), Hunter Chadwick (6-1, guard), Kramer Green (6-0, guard) and Dalton Reynolds (6-1, wing).

Of that group, Gibson, Zimmer, Sayler, Dickson, Rice and Halvorsen have at least one varsity season under their belts. Gibson, a returning starter, is a three-year varsity player.

Thomas is expected to make a difference this year, having transferred from Rochester, Wash. He brings AAU experience to the roster and has landed firmly in the starting lineup.

“We can push the ball pretty well…and this is one of the better shooting teams I’ve had,” Hawk said.

The Hornets kicked things off with a Saturday jamboree and were slated to host the Yelm Tornadoes Tuesday night; results came too late to be included here. Saturday, White River travels for a nonleague contest against Capital High.

Reach Kevin Hanson at or 360-802-8205.

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