Basketball: Young team to take court for Husky boys, but talent is there

Benny Westcott

A lot of players new to the varsity level will attempt to propel Sweet Home’s boys basketball program to success this season and improve upon last year’s 7-6 record.

“We’re super young and inexperienced this year,” Head Coach Drew Emmert said of his team, which graduated 10 seniors after last season. “In fact, we’re one of the most inexperienced teams in the state. Hopefully with hard work we can overcome some of that.”

The new faces will bring with them a new style of play, Emmert said. “The last three years we pressed and played high-tempo. We really sped the game up. This season, we have to reverse that a bit and play slower. This team isn’t quite as athletic and fast as some of our teams in the past. But we definitely still have athletes.”

Among them is returning senior point guard Eddie Martinez, who Emmert describes as one of the better on-ball defenders he’s coached, and senior Russ Holly, who the coach said is the team’s “go to scorer.”

“Russ and Eddie are going to carry a lot on their shoulders. There’s a good chance they’ll be our leading scorers,” he said.

Junior Riley Korn, who spent some time on varsity last season, will also look to make an impact. Another junior, Taevon James, who transferred from out of state, is “going to have a big role for us,” Emmert said. “He’ll play post for us. He has high energy, is athletic and rebounds well.”

Sophomore Nathan Aker returns as last season’s JV player of the year, and junior Evan Towry, a starting JV guard last year, will “play a big role,” according to the coach, who also mentioned junior Dylan Luttmer and sophomore William Jewell as potential impact players, as well as Mason Lopez, although the junior has been sick recently.

Looking at his overall squad, Emmert said, “I think we play pretty well as a team. We’re doing a good job so far being pretty patient on offense and running our stuff. Defensively, we can hold our own and force teams into tough shots.”

The team’s goal every year is to make the state playoffs, and this year is no different. Standing in the Huskies’ way: one of the state’s strongest schedules. Eleven of Sweet Home’s 24 games are against a team in the preseason top 10, and four of the state’s Top 10 squads hail from the Huskies’ 4A-3 Oregon West Conference.

“It’s going to be a big learning curve with all of these new guys,” Emmert said. “But we’ll find ways to compete with them. We’re excited to get going. Once league [play] gets here, every match is huge. The last couple of years, we’ve come in and everyone knew a lot about us. This year, with a lot of new guys, teams don’t know about us yet.”

Thirty-four players are participating in boys basketball this season, including 15 players on the JV 2 team and 19 on the JV 1 and varsity squads.

Rounding out the varsity roster are Eithan Delibertis and Tanner Waldrop.

Junior varsity players include Deacon Bachand, Delibertis, Kelso Ellis, Kason Forum, Jon Holly, Max Klumph, Vegas Mauer, Colin Nicholson and Tomas Stafford.

JV2 team members include Josh Aker, Patrick Brouillette, Rickey Erickson, Jason Funk, Darius Campbell, Hunter Dalley, Gavin Gardner, Gavin Grabeel, Kasey Kast, Kenny Sanders, Colton Savri, Conner Stevens and Eli Vincent,.

Sweet Home begins the season at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 1, with a home game against Elmira.