Winter Sports preview: Sequim boys basketball looks to out-run, out-shoot foes

Winter sports preview: Sequim High boys basketball

Head coach: Greg Glasser (12th year)

2017-2018 record: 10-12 (6-6 in Olympic League, fourth place); 0-2 at districts

Top returning players: Nate Despain (sr.), Riley Cowan (sr.), Keeshawn Whitney (sr.), Kyler Rollness (sr.), Hayden Eaton (so.), Erik Christiansen (so.), Joey Oliver (sr.), Rigo Langston (sr.), Michael Young (so.)

Key newcomers: Dallin Despain (so.), Blake Wiker (sr.)

One season after losing their big scorer, Sequim’s boys basketball squad is looking to cause big problems for foes — by going small.

The Wolves broke a two-year absence from the postseason last winter behind Olympic League MVP Payton Glasser’s 19-plus points per game.

“A lot of times we ran stuff for Payton and watched,” said Sequim coach Greg Glasser, who enters his 12th season with the Wolves.

“(We’ll have) a little more fluid offense,” he said. “We’ll be able to stretch the floor and shoot it. You will see us play six feet and under basketball; our speed allows us to do that.”

With Glasser graduated, the Wolves look to, among others, 5-9 point guard Nate Despain — a fourth-year starter who averaged 10.9 points per game and led the team in steals (68), assists (61), 3-pointers (30) and free-throw percentage (73.1) in 2017-2018.

“There will be games where he’ll be one of our bigger scorers,” Glasser said of Despain.

There should be plenty of help to go around, however, as Sequim brings back seven players who played in at least a dozen games for SHS’s varsity squad last year and an eighth — 6-4 post Hayden Eaton — who wound up starting by the end of last season’s campaign.

While Eaton and Blake Wiker (also 6-4) provide the size, it’s Sequim’s athleticism — from senior guard Kyler Rollness (5-6) to senior forwards Riley Cowan and Keeshawn Whitney (both 6-2) — that Glasser expects will make the Wolves tough to defend.

Coming off a league MVP football season, Cowan may typify the athletic angle for Sequim. One of the team’s bigger bodies, Cowan was second on the team in assists (46) and steals (44) and was third on the team in 3-pointers made (16).

“Our goal this year is to attack the basket and open up opportunities for teammates,” Glasser said. “We’re going to be a tough match-up because of our size. They’re going to have to come out and get us.”

The Wolves also bring back a number of quick guards and small forwards to push the pace, including Rollness, sophomores Erik Christiansen (6-1) and Michael Young (5-11), and seniors Joey Oliver (5-8) and Rigo Langston (5-11).

Christiansen shot 41 percent from 3-point range in limited time with the varsity crew while Langston was a key role player off the bench last year.

A player who may sneak in under the proverbial radar is Dallin Despain, Nate’s brother. Glasser said the 10th-grader played on junior varsity last year and through some competition at home has sharpened his skills to become a key asset for this year’s Wolves.

“He’s outworked everybody (and) leapfrogged a lot of guys,” Glasser said.

“We’re very deep; we’ll go 10, 11 guys,” he said.

Sequim finished 6-6 in league play last year, good for fourth place and a spot at the West Central District tournament, where they went 0-2.

“They’re a great group of guys,” Glasser said of this year’s club at a recent practice. “They work extremely hard in practice.”

Sequim opens the 2018-2019 season on Thursday, Nov. 29, at Bainbridge, followed by another non-league match-up at Steilacoom on Dec. 1.

The Wolves are at Kingston on Dec. 5 before their first home game, a Dec. 7 match-up against league foe North Mason.

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