It’s going to be a fun season on the court for local high school basketball teams, with state championship aspirations for at least three or four.
And, as always, Clatsop County teams offer up some competitive swimmers and wrestlers for the winter sports season.
In basketball, fans can expect to see several local teams making serious state title runs next February.
The Seaside boys — state champs in 2017 and 2018 and state runner-up in 2016 and 2019 — could be the team to beat at the 4A level. The Gulls were ranked fifth in a preseason coaches poll. Look for Seaside to eventually garner some first place votes this season.
The Knappa boys had just one senior last year (a non-starter), and with a front line that includes players with heights of 6 foot 9 inches, 6 foot 8 inches and 6 foot four inches , the Northwest League favorite Loggers are once again a strong contender to make the Final Four in Pendleton.
Knappa was ranked fourth in a preseason coaches poll.
On the girls’ side, the Astoria Lady Fishermen have lost key seniors over the last two seasons, but with young players stepping up and a few new additions, expect the Fish to contend for the Cowapa League title and be right back in the state championship hunt.
Come state tournament time, look for the Seaside (4A), Warrenton (3A) and Knappa (2A) boys to be playing in Forest Grove, Marshfield and Pendleton. The Astoria girls could also be among the final eight at the 4A level in Forest Grove.
In the water, Astoria and Seaside had success at the district level in the last winter sports season. The Seaside boys won a district title last spring, and the Astoria boys recently won a team title at the annual Nygaard Invitational.
Meanwhile, the Warrenton Warriors wrestling team (defending district champions and ranked seventh in the state in a preseason coaches poll) has even bigger expectations with a large team in 2021-22.
“We are looking to build on what we did last year, and I feel like we have the wrestlers to do it,” said Warrenton coach Corey Conant. “They’re hungry and ready to learn.”
The Warriors had 38 wrestlers on the preseason roster.
Said Conant, “Our team is as big as ever, and I honestly don’t see us losing too many.”