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The Timberwolves have a young, but promising, team going into the 2019-20 season

PMG FILE PHOTO: DAN BROOD - Tualatin High School senior John Miller (left) was named the Three Rivers League Defensive Player of the Year last year as a junior.TUALATIN — The Tualatin High School boys basketball team probably won't be anywhere near its peak at the start of the season.

But, the young Timberwolves will be looking to work their way there — and the sooner the better.

Tualatin, with many new, but talented, players on its varsity roster will be looking for steady advancement as the 2019-20 season progresses.

"We definitely will be a team that needs to improve as the season goes on," Tualatin coach Todd Jukkala said. "We're young, but talented, with skill and athleticism. But it will be a process. Our fate will depend on quick we jell together."

The Wolves do have some returnees back from last year's squad that finished in fourth place in the final Three Rivers League standings at 7-5, while going 15-9 on the season.

Among the returnees is senior wing John Miller (6-foot-2). Last year, Miller was named the Three Rivers League Defensive Player of the Year, while also earning All-Three Rivers League second-team honors.

"He really provides the toughness for our team," Jukkala said of Miller. "He brings toughness, and is an outstanding athlete. We're looking for him to step up and build on his football leadership."

The Wolves also return senior guard Sam Noland (6-1).

"We're looking for him to do a lot of things for us this year," Jukkala said. "He'll surprise some people this year. He's a complete player."

Junior wing Logan Shaw (6-4) also saw some varsity action last year.

"He's built confidence," Jukkala said. "He had a really strong summer for us. He's a good rebounder, and can shoot from the outside."

PMG FILE PHOTO: DAN BROOD - Tualatin High School senior returnee Sam Noland (right) should play a key role for the Timberwolves this year at a guard spot.Senior post Jeremy Lund is back after swinging between the Timberwolf varsity and junior varsity last year.

"He's one of our better back-to-the-basket posts," Jukkala said. "He's stronger, and an efficient passer out of the post."

Senior wing Bret Robert (6-3) is one of the newcomers to the Tualatin varsity.

"He's taken every step through our program," Jukkala said. "He's shown a lot of growth, and has worked hard on his game. We'll rely on him for some outside shooting."

Junior post Carson Denning (6-6) is moving up from last year's JV team.

"He had a pretty good year," Jukkala said. "He's been working really hard, and is a solid player. He has good athleticism, and loves the game."

The Wolves have another newcomer in junior wing Jackson Passaglia (6-3).

"He's a good outside shooter with huge potential," Jukkala said.

Junior Blake Howarth (6-0) will also play at wing.

"He's a hustle kid," Jukkala said. "He brings good energy."

Junior Seth Feik (5-9), a transfer from Wilsonville, will be at a guard spot.

"He has really good fundamentals," Jukkala said.

Sophomore Malik Ross (5-10), coming off a standout football season, will be at a wing spot.

"He's got great basketball instincts," Jukkala said. "He's a good athlete and a strong kid. He's got good versatility and is deceptively quick."

Sophomore Peter Burke (6-4) should provide some strength in the post.

"He gives us a lot of toughness," Jukkala said. "He doesn't bat an eye when he goes up against John in practice. He's a really good passer, and works hard on defense."

Sophomore Noah Ogoli (5-9) will play at both guard spots.

"He's got good fundamentals on defense, and is a gym rat," Jukkala said. "He has tremendous upside."

The Wolves are now hoping that everything comes together for the team.

"The potential is great. It's just a matter of when it kicks in," Jukkala said. "I think our versatility will be a strength, and we want to be a team that is known for its defense."

As for the Three Rivers League, Tualatin is looking at a lot of strong competition this year.

"The Three Rivers League is tough again," Jukkala said. "Everyone has experience coming back. Lake Oswego is a machine. West Linn, with (head coach) Eric (Viuhkola) back, will be tough. They have size and athleticism. Canby will surprise some people. I hope it's not us. And Tigard, (coach) Shawn (Alderman) will always have them playing at a high level. Lakeridge has some good athletes. Oregon City has some good guards, and their switching defense is a tough one."

Where could Tualatin fit into the mix?

"We always want to compete for one of those playoff spots," Jukkala said. "That's where we want to be."

Tualatin opened its season on Friday with a 69-63 overtime loss at South Salem. The Wolves will be back in action tonight (Tuesday) when they host Madison in a non-league game starting at 7 p.m. On Friday, Tualatin will travel to Cleveland for a non-league game starting at 7:15 p.m.

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