Team Spotlight: White River Hornets

White River coach Troy Tornow saw his team advance to the 3A state tournament last year. With nine seniors returning, the future looks bright for the Hornets.

Three starters are back for Coach T in 5-11 senior guard Jerry Thomas (9ppg/ 4.7 assists), 6-3 senior forward Brian Browning (8.1ppg/6.5 rebounds) and 6-1 senior wing Jason Gran (6.2ppg/ 4 rebounds).

Tornow expects 6-4 junior Tyler Nixon to step in and contribute significantly.

"Our strength is our depth, comeptitveness and experience," Tornow told us. "We will play 10-12 guys and have nine seniors coming back from a year ago."

Tornow addressed possible weaknesses; "our lack of size hurts us and we need to improve our consistency on offense."

"Our summer went fairly well. We played all but the last two weeks without Jerry Thomas (shoulder injury)." And the Hornets went beyond the state border to get some impressive competition. "We played at the adidas Big Time as a team and went 3 and 2. Overall the summer was productive."

As for how the coach sees the Seamount League shaping up in the new season; "In the Pierce Division it's a race between White River, Clover Park and Lakes. Renton looks like the team to beat in the King Division."

Tornow likes Rainier Beach as the main contender for the state title but adds Bellingham, Seattle Prep and Renton as teams that could also contend.

As for sleeper players in the league, Tornow looked at his own squad. "I think our own Tyler Nixon fits this description."

"We have 10 players back from last year's team that won our division and went to state. Jerry Thomas had shoulder surgery at the beginning of October, hopefully he will be able to come back sometime during the season. We are not physically imposing and do not have a D-1 player, but we have proven that we can compete with pretty much anyone when healthy. Our league is competitive, as a whole we do not have the size of leagues like the Metro or KingCo. Renton is undersized but very tough. As for the state, it is Rainier Beach's to lose."

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