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After several low-win seasons, Molalla boys' basketball looks to move up in Tri-Valley Conference

PIONEER PHOTO: TANNER RUSS - Molalla senior Brice Sperl drives to the basket against Riverdale in the teams season opener. Molalla ended up losing the contest 58-45.
Coach: Jeff Bennett

2017-18: 4-19

Key losses: Alex Kutsev, Cole Bauge, Marcus Simpson, Teo Sjoestrand, Chase Jazdinski

Key returners: Ben Daniels, Jonathan Taylor, Jeff Larsen, Brice Sperl, Tom Ellis, Colin Carpenter, Silverio Lopez

Outlook: The wins came few and far between last season for the Molalla boys' basketball. The team picked up its only league win against Corbett at the tail end of the season, snapping an 11-game losing streak.

The poor showing last season is a part of an unfortunate trend for the Molalla boys' squad. Going back to the 2013-2014 season, the team has had only one season where they accrued more than 10 wins (12 wins in 2015-16). The overall record in that time is 33-83.

One thing that Molalla does have going for it in the upcoming season though is the sheer number of returners the team has coming back, seven total. With that many returning student athletes, and eight total seniors, the team has the experience on the court to make things competitive in the Tri-Valley Conference (TVC).

The teams that should be expected to vie for the title are Gladstone and Madras, both of whom finished the league season with 8 wins. Crook County, last year's third place TVC finisher, is up and out to the 5A level, but Oregon West's North Marion Huskies have made the move to fill the spot. North Marion finished in fifth place in the Oregon West last year, and had a 10-15 overall record.

Molalla's offense on the court will need to be improved though if the team is to compete in league. The team was the second lowest scoring in the TVC with 1,125 points, only outscoring the 5-17 Estacada Rangers (957 points). Defensively, the team was the second worst in league, only defending better than second place TVC finisher Madras, who allowed 1,832 points in the entirety of its season. Molalla finished its season ranked 39th in the state.

First Game: Thursday, Nov. 29 vs. Riverdale, Loss 58-45

The team will have a chance to right ship against the Oregon West's Cascade High School on Tuesday, Dec. 4. Cascade will be making its season debut in the outing.

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