PORT TOWNSEND — It’s back to the basics for the Port Townsend Redhawks boys basketball team.
Some of that focus on the fundamentals is by design, as half the roster is making their varsity debuts or returning after missing last season, so a refresher course was in order.
Troubles with transferring practice plan documents from an old computer to a new laptop also had head coach Tom Webster leaning on assistant coach Jon Stroeder’s old exercises in the early going.
Stroeder, the lone Port Townsend player to ever play in the NBA, also spent time in European leagues, and the 6-foot-10 redhead has served as head coach at his alma mater twice, first as a girls head coach and most recently as boys head coach.
With Webster on staff as an assistant, Stroeder guided the school to sixth place in the 2008 Class 2A State Tournament and third in the 2009 Class 1A State Tournament, the last time Port Townsend advanced to state.
Stroeder’s teams were always heavy on the fundamentals, so the Redhawks keyed in on the essentials early on.
“I thought we were starting a basketball agency the first couple of weeks, but we had to learn how to throw a chest, how to box somebody out,” Webster said.
“That’s what we needed to do, a lot of fundamentals.”
Webster said he’s excited to have Stroeder back, as well as assistants Sean Smith and Ahmad Baahabar.
“We have a real good coaching staff and we have a chance to get some stuff done,” Webster said. “I like our chances.”
Port Townsend returns senior guard Jaden Watkins and junior guard Noa Montoya, but lacks size inside and will have to develop a third option offensively.
“We have to find a third guy,” Webster said. “Watkins and Noa should score some pretty consistently for us, but we need that third guy.”
Webster said his team does have athletes, so playing the style they would like to play is within reach.
“We have some real good athletes, everybody is very athletic, they play not just basketball but other sports,” Webster said.
“The key is to rebound the basketball and get up and down the floor. We might throw some presses in there, but that’s easier said than done. Getting going too fast can be a problem, by itself. So saying it and doing it are a couple of different things.”
Seniors Cole Crawford and Nico Winegar will be counted on at forwards and the Redhawks also have Kavi Baahabar returning and Tao Johnston, a 6-foot-2 senior who returns after missing his junior year.
Sophomore Devin Harris also is promising, especially at 6-foot-3. And Webster said Kuba Krol, a 6-foot-1 Polish exchange student, has played some club basketball back home.
Reaching double figures in scoring each quarter is a goal, and not just the minimum of 10 points.
“I think our defense will be solid, so if we can hold teams to around 40 and get to that 50 or 60-point mark offensively, that’s what we’re looking for,” Webster said.
The Redhawks are seeking their third straight Olympic League 1A title, in a division that has been whittled to three teams (PT, Klahowya and Chimacum) with Coupeville’s departure.
“Regardless [of the size of the league], our goal is to win the league again, even if we are playing 12 games or nine games or a six-game [league schedule].”
“Klahowya should be good they have [John] Hartford [back],” Webster said.
“We play Klahowya twice on the road, so that’s an advantage for them. But if we can’t win the league, we probably don’t deserve to go to the playoffs.”
With such a short league schedule, Port Townsend will play some 2A Olympic League schools like Sequim, Kingston, Bremerton and North Mason, and some solid 1A schools such as Forks and Bear Creek Academy to round out the slate.
And the Redhawks will host the annual Crush in the Slush holiday basketball tournament with Sequim and Neah Bay coming to town Dec. 28-29.
Port Townsend Redhawks
Coach: Tom Webster (7th season, 54-70 record)
• Last season: 11-10, Olympic League 1A Champions, lost in district tournament.
• Returners: Jaden Watkin (Sr., G, 6-0); Noa Montoya (Jr., G, 6-3); Cole Crawford (Sr., F, 6-1); Kavi Baabahar (Sr., G/F, 6-2); Nico Winegar (Sr., F, 6-1); Tao Johnston (Sr., F, 6-2).
• Varsity Newcomers: Kesem Coggins (Jr., G, 6-0); Isaiah Harris (Sr., G, 5-8); Aiden Petta (Jr., G, 6-0); Devin Harris (So., F, 6-3); Kuba Krol (Sr., F, 6-1); Daniel Stenberg (Sr., F, 6-4).