A quick examination of the White River boys basketball roster reveals plenty of new faces.
Coach Rick Tripp’s program, which had built a solid foundation of success, was hit hard by graduation. Gone are seven of the players who made up last year’s 12-man postseason roster, including four starters.
But recent tradition counts for a lot and the Hornets have been mighty successful the past few seasons. In each of the past three seasons White River’s boys have advanced to the state tourney round of 16 teams, twice qualifying for the state Elite Eight in Yakima.
If this year’s squad is to have similar success, some varsity newcomers are going to have to produce.
The lone starter returning from a season ago is senior point guard Dustin France. Other varsity returnees include senior Brandon Scheer and junior Tyler meadows; junior Chris Marmon spent time with the junior varsity program but joined the varsity for postseason play.
The remainder of this year’s varsity roster has moved up from the JV ranks. Rounding things out are seniors Chad Durrant, Hunter Hendricks, Travis Truax and Trent Buchanan; junior Hunter Mills; and sophomore Alex Wallen.
Tripp has counted on some decent size the past few seasons, but the situation has changed dramatically. He’s shifting to a guard-oriented squad and boasts this might be the best-shooting team he’s had.
While White River has lost a bundle of talent, there’s still plenty of parity throughout the South Puget Sound League 2A, Tripp said. Other league teams also suffered key losses to graduation, he said, and the overall strength of the league has diminished.
The Hornets opened the season last weekend by hosting a jamboree and got rolling in earnest Monday night when they hosted Cascade Christian in nonleague action. Things continue Friday night when the Hornets host their neighbors from across the river, Enumclaw High.
League play begins Dec. 9 when White River hosts Orting.