4A Inland Empire League
Written by: Sven Alskog
PRESEASON COACHES POLL
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Ben Postell, Moscow
Ben Zubaly, Lakeland
Jalen Skalsky, Lakeland
Ryan Roos, Sandpoint
Cody Banks, Sandpoint
Moscow rode the hot hand of Gabe Quinnett all the way to a 4A IEL title and a trip to the state tournament a year ago. With the prolific scorer now playing for Idaho at the next level, the league looks to be wide-open.
Entering the season, Lakeland will be a strong challenger for an opportunity at playing postseason basketball this year.
Senior guards Ben Zubaly and Travis Derrick are the experienced pieces for a relatively young group that likes to run.
“We will be up-tempo and I think we will be a better defensive team this season,” said Lakeland head coach Dave Stockwell. “Once the young guys figure out it is as much fun to play defense as it is to play offense, we should do pretty well.”
Newcomer Abe Munyer is a player to watch from the guard position, with Carson Seay joining him in the backcourt and the duo of Noah Haaland and Ammond Munyer quality forward options.
“I think this team, although being very young, has great chemistry and a better overall basketball IQ,” Stockwell said.
Similar to the Hawks, Moscow will have a young look to the squad, with the inside-out combination of First Team All-League post Ben Postell and junior guard Benny Kitchel the most experienced pieces, with three years of varsity experience each.
“I’m excited to see which young guys step up,” said Moscow head coach Josh Uhrig. “It may be a youth movement for Moscow basketball. If we can get everyone to gel together, then it could be an exciting year. We will be leaning on Postell, Kitchel and Brayden Decker quite a bit. While we will be pretty young this year, this will be Postell and Kitchel’s third year on varsity, so their experience and leadership will be invaluable.”
The Bears have added some size all over the floor, but lost some speed as a tradeoff. Expect the team to still push the pace when they can offensively however, which was a staple for Moscow a year ago.
“We love to play an up-tempo style,” Uhrig said. “The younger guys have bought in on the fast pace, so they should be able to transition right in. We’ve always played a lot of pressure defense, but we have a lot of work to do to get the younger players up to pace with the speed of the game. Our perimeter defense will require a lot of work and patience.”
Further north in Sandpoint, the Bulldogs are expected to be much improved.
“Sandpoint could be very surprising in their second year under their coach,” Uhrig added. “As the players understand the system more, they might shock some teams.”
Ryan Roos and Cody Banks are a couple of players to watch for Sandpoint in the new season.