The Daily Astorian
Over the last four years, the Warrenton boys basketball program has a record of just four wins and 60 losses in league play. The Warriors, however, are about to put all that behind them.
For the first time since Nate McBride took over the reins, Warrenton has a team that should be able to compete night in and night out in the Lewis & Clark League.
Which is saying something, when you’re a part of one of the toughest 3A conferences in the state.
“We have six guys back who have started varsity games, and that’s by far more than I’ve had in the past,” said McBride, entering his fifth year as the Warriors’ coach. “And having a competitive JV team will be a big advantage for us.”
The key players are back, they’re healthy, and the Warriors are ready to make a run.
THE LEWIS & CLARK LEAGUE
Warrenton has one more year against the private schools in the Lewis & Clark League. By this time next year, the Warriors could be talking state playoffs as part of the new Coastal Range League.
Until then, it’s more games against Catlin Gabel, De La Salle, Portland Adventist, etc.
“De La Salle is going to be really good,” McBride said. “They only graduated two kids, and they weren’t starters. They lost the championship game, and they’ll be top two or three this year.
“PAA (Portland Adventist) will be good as usual, and Clatskanie is going to be really good. They return most of their guys,” he said. “Rainier has two of the five best players in the league, but Dawson (Carr) got hurt in football, and I don’t know if he will be back.”
Elsewhere, “Portland Christian returns their three best players, and Catlin Gabel has a new coach, but they’ve got a 6-10 kid and another 6-4.
“It will be a better balanced league, but De La Salle should be a lot better than everybody else, then five or six teams in the middle,” said McBride, whose father, Gary, coached Warrenton for years in the same league. “One of the biggest struggles for us has been being competitive in league. The private schools reload pretty regularly.”
Warrenton lost four seniors off last year’s roster, but the Warriors still have plenty of varsity experience returning. And they’re still young.
Warrenton has just two seniors on the roster (Logan Fischer, Ryan Fowler), with more talent coming up through the ranks.
The Warriors have three returning juniors (Kaleo Kapua, Dalton Knight, A.J. Schenbeck), and three sophomores (Devin Jackson, Austin Little, Jacob Morrow) who all saw varsity action as freshmen last year.
Knight suffered a broken wrist in a football jamboree in August, and missed the entire season. He’s back and healthy.
The Warriors have added a junior, Ayden Stephens, who played as a freshman.
“Ayden is about 6-2, and he’s by far the most physically-gifted player I’ve coached since I’ve been here,” McBride said. “He’s a big, athletic kid. Logan (Fischer) is not particularly tall, but he’s a physical player; Kaleo is 6-2, Devin is 6-1 … our strength will be in those four guys being big around the basket.”
Fowler “will probably start at point guard,” he said. “Jake Morrow has the potential to be a starter. This is by far the most talented group I’ve had, physically and basketball-wise.”
Adding depth will be junior Trey Qualls and sophomore Gabe Breitmeyer.
“The running up and down that our league tends to do won’t be so overwhelming for us now,” McBride said. “Our depth will be considerably better.”
Coach: Nate McBride, 5th year
2016-17: 5-18 (1-15 league)
All-league loss: Christian Holt