Track and field

Boys basketball preview: Versatility a key for Quitoriano

Teagan Quitoriano isn’t much interested in labels when it comes to his position on the basketball court.

Teagan Quitoriano leads the boys basketball team for Sprague High School. Photographed at Sprague High School on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016.

Teagan Quitoriano leads the boys basketball team for Sprague High School. Photographed at Sprague High School on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016.

Sure, at 6-foot-6, 230 pounds, the Sprague High School junior is a force on the low block. But Quitoriano can also stretch defenses with his long-range shooting ability, and has the green light to lead fast breaks off the dribble.

Quitoriano excels in so many aspects of the game that it’s almost a disservice to call him a guard, forward or center.

After averaging 23 points and 11 rebounds per game last season, Quitoriano returns for the 2016-17 campaign as one of the premier players in the Greater Valley Conference, if not the state.

“I don’t really like to say what position I am,” Quitoriano said. “I just think I’m a player.”

No one will dispute that assessment.

Actually, Quitoriano is a skilled athlete on the hardwood and gridiron.

A defensive end and tight end on the Olympians’ football team that advanced to the Class 6A state quarterfinals, Quitoriano was named GVC Defensive Player of the Year. He stopped a two-point conversion attempt in overtime that sealed a win over Sherwood in the second round of the state playoffs.

The extended run in football meant Quitoriano joined basketball practice a little late, but there wasn’t much rust to shake off.

“It’s a different type of shape I need to be in, but every Sunday during the football season I would come in (the Sprague gym) and work out with my dad,” Quitoriano said.

At some point, Quitoriano will have a decision to make when it comes to college sports. Football or basketball?

And once that decision is make, what position will he play? This much is clear: Quitoriano will have options and an assortment of schools have expressed interest.

You never know, Quitoriano could play two sports in college.

“It would be a lot of work, but think it would be fun to do both,” Quitoriano said.

Quitoriano was introduced to football in kindergarten, and about four years later it shared top billing with basketball.

Playing two sports in high school has been an asset.

“I think basketball helps for football with my athleticism, but football helps with basketball,” he said. “It helps me to be more aggressive, get to the hoop. I can take more punishment than people that just play basketball.”

And dish it out. For now, the focus is on basketball, especially with the high school season tipping off this week.

Quitoriano’s size and athleticism makes him a difficult match up.

“He can really score inside, he can stretch you (on defense), he’s worked hard on handling the basketball and has the ability to bring it up for us,” said BJ Dobrkovsky, who begins his 12th season as Sprague’s head coach. “He’s a versatile guy. We’re gonna use him a lot of ways and still develop his skills.”

Led by Quitoriano and senior guard Kaiden Flanigan, Sprague figures to be among the contenders for the GVC crown. The Olympians were fourth in the conference last season and lost in the first round of the state playoffs.

Quitoriano was a first-team all-GVC selection and honorable mention all-state, but he is not driven by individual accolades.

“My individual goal is just to make this team better,” Quitoriano said. “If that gives me accolades then that’s fine, but I just wanna win games.”

Announcing the preseason ALL-USA Mid-Valley boys basketball teams

Quitoriano’s competitive nature is always on display.

“It’s his grit when he plays. It makes me work harder,” Flanigan said. “Just how bad he wants to win and it doesn’t matter if it’s a game or a free throw competition. He loves to win.”

The Olympians, who were 11-14 overall last season and 9-7 in the GVC, have a good chance to win a lot more games.

And if that happens, Quitoriano will be in the discussion for GVC Player of the Year.

“100 percent expect us to win the conference and make a deep playoff run,” he said.

ghorowitz@StatesmanJournal.com, 503-399-6726 or Twitter.com/ghorowitz

Boys basketball preview

Greater Valley Conference

McKay

Coach: Dean Sanderson, sixth year.

Last year’s record: 6-18 overall, 3-13 GVC.

Key athletes

Josiah Castillo, sr., G: A returning starter and honorable mention all-league player in his junior year.

Noah Tavera, sr., G: A returning starter and team leader.

Israel Garza, jr., G: Better known as a track and field athlete, he played significant minutes last season.

Outlook: The Royal Scots have the pieces to move up in the conference this season with an athletic bunch of players and size on the inside, but the team is still relatively young.

McNary

Coach: Ryan Kirch, sixth year.

Last year’s record: 21-5 overall, 13-3 GVC, lost in second round of state playoffs.

Key athletes

Matthew Ismay, sr., W: A second-team all-league perimeter player last year and twice has been the league’s defensive player of the year.

Cade Goff, sr., W: A two-year returning starter, he was an honorable mention all-league player last year and is an outstanding all-around athlete.

Adam Harvey, sr. W: A returning starter and honorable mention all-league player.

Outlook: The Celtics return four starters – Alex Martin is the other – and have a deep squad including honorable mention all-league wing Easton Neitzel, but the team’s greatest need this season is going to be developing a consistent scoring presence.

North Salem

Coach: Cameron McCormick, first year.

Last year’s record: 1-22 overall, 0-16 GVC.

Key athletes

Alex Vasquez, sr., PG: A savvy veteran who provides leadership.

Hunter Sullivan, sr., F: An energetic post presence and all-around solid athlete.

Jason Backer, sr., PF: An explosive athlete who looks to emerge this season.

Outlook: The Vikings have a fresh start this season with a new head coach and an athletic team, but will need a major step up to compete in the tough GVC.

Girls basketball preview: Shawnie Spink and Dayton face high expectations

South Salem

Coach: Tyler Allen, fifth year.

Last year’s record: 26-3 overall, 16-0 GVC, third place in 6A.

Key athletes

Jaden Nielsen-Skinner, so., G: A second-team all-league player as a freshman and one of the best young players in the state.

Gavin Baughman, jr., G: A returning starter and honorable mention all-league player as a sophomore.

Tyler Wadleigh, jr., G: A dynamic player and deadly outside shooter who does a lot of things well on the perimeter.

Outlook: The Saxons return three of their top perimeter players from last year’s team, but will have to rely on speed and strong guard play if they’re going to win the GVC a fourth year in a row.

Sprague

Coach: B.J. Dobrkovsky, 12th year.

Last year’s record: 11-14 overall, 9-7 GVC, lost in first round of state playoffs

Key athletes

Kaiden Flanigan, sr., G: The four-year starter and two-time second-team all-GVC player has proven himself an adept scoring presence and a strong leader.

Teagan Quitoriano, jr., F: One of the best post players in the state, his development into a first-team all-league and honorable mention all-state player coincided with Sprague’s return to prominence.

Perry VanHouten, jr., F: An honorable mention all-league player and a returning starter.

Outlook: The Olympians return four starters and have an athletic, experienced upper class that will contend for the league championship.

West Salem

Coach: Travis Myers, first year.

Last year’s record: 13-13 overall, 11-5 GVC, lost in second round of state playoffs.

Key athletes

Kyle Greeley, jr., G: A second-team all-league player as a sophomore who has verbally committed to Seattle.

Jared Oliver, sr., P: A strong, athletic player who will be looked to play inside and out and an honorable mention all-league player as a junior.

Josh Bailey, sr., PG: A three-year starter who will control the tempo of the game.

Outlook: The Titans have a new head coach and a strong offensive group that should meld well with the change in style to emphasize its strength this season and put the Titans in contention at the top of the league.

Also in the GVC

Forest Grove: The Vikings (15-10 GVC in 2015-2016) return starters in Bailey Evers and Kyle Thompson, but must replace a lot of offense to be competitive.

McMinnville: The youth of the Grizzlies (9-15 GVC last season) showed, but the team has some talented players in Aaron Baune, Wyatt Smith and Isiah Coste and will contend for a state playoff spot.

West Albany: The Bulldogs (5-11 GVC last season) graduated a good senior class and will be young this season.

Announcing the preseason ALL-USA Mid-Valley girls basketball teams

Other Mid-Valley conferences

Mid-Willamette Conference: The league is wide open this season with no clear favorite. Crescent Valley has an athletic team and last year’s league champion Corvallis should be a contender again. Silverton and Dallas were hurt by transfers and will have young squads.

Oregon West Conference: Philomath is the defending state champion and is the favorite to win the league this season with a senior-led lineup, but will have a challenge this season. North Marion returns all-state senior Tanner Scanlan, all-league player Hunter Martin and size with Trevor Ensign and Hunter Schrenk and will contend for the top spot. Cascade has an athletic team with players including all-league Tyler Walker as well as Noah Gilbert, Damian Ball and Treyden Harris and should have an improved season. Stayton returns varsity players in Cade Nau and Jacob Classen, but graduated five starters from last year’s team.

West Valley League: Dayton returns co-state player of the year Zach Bernards from its team that placed third in the state a year ago and will be a state contender again. Amity returns honorable mention all-league senior Devin McShane and an athletic group including seniors Dylan Stearns, Clint Hatch, Deryk Stearns, Brandon Wilson and Dillon Barber and should contend for the top spot in the league. Willamina had a young team last year that should be improved behind all-league players in senior AJ Farmer and sophomore Chance Kalawa. Sheridan returns starters in Bradly Crowe, Zachary Blake and Chase Butt and seven seniors that should put the team in a contention for a state playoff spot.

PacWest Conference: Blanchet and Salem Academy are the favorites in the league, though both teams are behind with their football teams making deep state playoff runs. Blanchet returns second-team all-league sophomore R.J. Veliz and varsity players in Mike Bashaw, Jack Coen, Nick Conway and Denver Bogat. Salem Academy has a new head coach in Ryan Kendall and has an athletic squad. Gervais has a senior-dominated lineup including Derrik Jaramillo, Alex Isiordia, CJ Bastidas, River Moss and Pedro Hernandez and will try to make noise in the conference. Scio returns all-league post Blake Lackner and starters Malcolm Robinson and Dillon Bergby, but will rely on freshmen to play big roles.

Tri-River Conference: A Regis team that was the co-league champion with Western Mennonite and placed second in the state last year is the heavy favorite to win the conference. The team gets a late start with its football team winning a state championship, but when all-league players including Byrce Piete, Brendon Woodcock and Brandon Piete at full strength along with Tanner Williams, Grant Minten, Ryan Boyd and Charlie Gescher, it will be tough to beat. Western Mennonite has placed at the state tournament the past 11 years and will be a threat at the state level with players including all-leaguers Simeon Hess, Johnny Williams and Keaton Hull leading an athletic group. Kennedy will be a contender at the state level with an experienced senior class including Bishop Mitchell, Brett Traeger and Jack Suing. Santiam will be a surprise with the transfer in of senior Julian Downey, a second-team all-Mid-Willamette Conference player last year and standout from Silverton’s state championship run in 2015. He combines with an experienced group including starters Austin Fawcett, Riley Nicot and Josh Fawcett.

Casco League: The league will be up for grabs as teams were hurt hard by graduation. Willamette Valley Christian has a legitimate shot behind seniors Cahldwell Peetz and Branden Nye. Perrydale should be a contender with first-team all-league player Haylen Janesofsky. 

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