Gulls are young and competitive this season

Bren Bletscher, right, works on ball denial defense against Henry Broderick during a Seaside practice.<br><i>ALEX PAJUNAS - The Daily Astorian</i>

The Seaside Gulls were sitting pretty through two games of the 2008-09 Cowapa League season.

After a 44-36 win over Yamhill-Carlton and a 52-50 overtime victory at Banks, the Gulls were 2-0 with high hopes.

That's about when the season took a turn for the worse. Seaside lost 60-49 at Scappoose, and proceeded to lose the rest of their league games to finish at 2-8.

A 56-54 nonleague win over Warrenton was Seaside's only victory over the final month of the season, as the Gulls closed out the year with a 60-47 loss at Banks in the league playoffs.

As they enter the 2009-10 season, a more experienced Seaside team would like to repeat the 2-0 start in league play, then they'll hope to stay on the winning track.

THE LEAGUE

"Scappoose is going to be pretty athletic," said Seaside coach Bill Westerholm, in his 12th year with the Gulls. "They'll probably have one of the better guards, with Cory Hendryx. And they've got some kids who can shoot the ball. They won't be that big, but they'll be all right, and I see them fighting for a league title."

League champion Tillamook "lost a lot of kids, but they still have (Matt) Bryant in the middle, and the kid who will be a sophomore (Jordan Schriber) is a good ball player. (Josh) Rodrigues hurt himself in football (broken leg), but he should be ready for league.

"Astoria has their two inside guys back (Jake Hatcher, Zach Dursse), and they're athletic with Alex Eterno, Dane Lund and Jacob Davis. (Davis) and Max Johnson can shoot the ball pretty well."

Elsewhere, "Banks has a good class of juniors. They're not going to have a lot of depth, but their first five could be as good as any five. Yamhill lost quite a few seniors. They'll be young."

THE PLAYERS

"We've got those four seniors - Bubba (Rotella), Jason (Spear), Bren (Bletscher) and Henry (Broderick)," Westerholm said. "Henry's going to be taking over the point guard position, after he split it last year (with Jeremy Carow). He's improved physically, and got some playing time this summer.

"Bren is much more physical than he was last year. He can jump a lot higher and he's more agile. I think he's even grown a little.

"Bubba has dropped a little weight from football. And Jason is pretty tenacious defensively. He's a little like Justin Laird, but smaller.

The junior class includes Ian Hawksford, Jon Perry, John Schmidt, Joel Slovak and Mark Ulbricht.

"Ian Hawksford is probably the most athletic kid on the team," Westerholm said. "He could be one of the more athletic kids in the league. We're just not sure where we'll put him right now, either at wing or post. Jon and Mark are fighting for time to back up Henry."

A varsity sophomore contributor will be Charles Hawes ("he's more athletic and he's matured a lot," Westerholm said).

Other players vying for time with the varsity include Aaron Chesnut, Nick Nelson, Jason Pfund and Eddie Soller.

"In some lineups we're about 6-1, so we'll be outmatched at times in the post, but we can always move one of our wings in there, and we can create matchup problems with some teams," Westerholm said. "We're almost 6-2 across the board."

THE OUTLOOK

"We're young, but I see ourselves as being pretty dang competitive," Westerholm said.

Prediction: Gulls will be dang competitive, as they step up into the upper half of the Cowapa League. Third place.

SEASIDE BOYS BASKETBALL

Coach: Bill Westerholm, 12th year

2008-09: 6-18 (2-8 Cowapa League)

Playoffs: Lost league playoff at Banks (60-47)

All-League Losses: None

All-League Returners: Bren Bletscher, Sr. (1st team)

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