WRHS BOYS BASKETBALL: Hornets turn to trio of guards for leadership

As fans gazed upon the White River High boys basketball bench last season, they saw a lot of tall timber.

Most of the Hornet height disappeared with June’s graduation and when WRHS opens its campaign in the South Puget Sound League 2A, it will be all about the energetic and skilled backcourt aces. Hornet rooters will see a lot of three-guard offensive schemes.

The trio of cagers bringing the ball up the court includes juniors in Billy Kiel and Jason Tyler, both of whom finished among the top 10 scorers in last season’s SPSL 3A, averaging double figures. The third guard is sophomore Alex Sayler, who earned his stripes as a freshman last year.

“I think we will be all right this season,” proclaimed second-year coach Rick Tripp.

“We are going to have to come out of the gate fast though in this new league,” he said. “There are going to be some tough teams with Franklin Pierce returning a lot of its front line folks as well as Clover Park and a Sumner High squad that I feel is going to be much-improved.” Tripp and his troops just missed a postseason engagement in 2009-10, finishing a shade over .500.

Some size still remains from last year’s roster in senior center Niko Wolfskill and athletic junior forward Lyle McCaragher, both 6 feet, 3 inches. “Wolfskill is a crafty post player down low and a strong rebounder who worked hard to improve in the offseason, while McCaragher is active, a good shooter and they both play well defensively,” Tripp said.

The two big men and the triple guard candidates had a good chance to jell during the summer and this fall as Tripp had the core of his young crew participating in club basketball.