T-Birds aim to rebound after poor preseason
By Chentay Warnes and Konner Hancock - Staff Reporters
The Highline men's basketball team won five of their ten games over the winter break and started their regular season with a 93-61 win over Centralia.
The T-Birds competed in several games over the course of the winter break starting with the Highline crossover tournament on Dec. 16-18 where they defeated the Chemeketa Storm, 65-42.
However, they went on to lose to the Peninsula Pirates, 71-48, and to the Yakima Valley Yaks 67-64.
Then they moved on to play five preseason games, winning against the Olympic Rangers 60-57 and the Bellevue Bulldogs 70-56. Finally, the T-Birds capped off the break and kicked off the regular season with a win over the Centralia Trailblazers.
"We wanted to get better every game and develop a foundation of consistency that would get us ready for league," said Head Coach Che Dawson, about the preseason
In the first league game, against the Trailblazers, five of Highlines players scored 12 or more points. Jared Casey, Val Wilson, Shakwel Vincent and Jeremi Hanks all scored 12 points and starting guard Austin Anderson led the team in scoring with 14 points.
The T-Birds led the game in rebounds as well as assists. Players leading these categories were wing Jared Casey grabbing 10 boards and guard Jared Murphy earning four assists.
Despite the recent efforts the team still has lacked constant consistency and has also had a lack of urgency during games, Dawson said.
Improving these things will be "A game by game and practice by practice proposition," he said.
The following Saturday the team faced their second league opponent only to fall short 72-51 to the South Puget Sound Clippers.
Highline's score of 51 was their second lowest all season.
The team was only able to generate two players to score double digits, forward Shakwel Vincent with 14 points and guard Jeremi Hanks with 11.
The five preseason games that Highline competed in spanned from Dec. 22 to Jan. 7, where Highline duked it out with the Olympic Rangers 60-57 and then toppled the Bellevue Bulldogs 70-56.
However, the T-Birds had also lost to three teams during the break, the Skagit Valley Cardinals 86-61, the Whatcom Orcas 83-82 and the Everett Trojans 77-76.
Since these games the main focus for the team is "raising our intensity level while at the same time playing smarter offensively," Dawson said.
Next Highline will hit the road to compete against the 2-0 Lower Columbia Red Devils on Jan. 24.
Results from the Jan. 18 home game against the 1-1 Grays Harbor Chokers were unavailable at press time.