SEASON PREVIEW: MERIDIAN TROJANS

Whatcom County boys and girls are ready to tip off the 2019-20 basketball season, and Whatcom Hoops has previews for all our teams. Today: Meridian

Senior Jackson Short

BOYS

Coach: Shane Stacy

Last season: 12-14 overall, 2-11 in NWC (tied for 12th)

Top returnees: Jackson Short (Sr.), Ryan Johnson (Sr.), Jordan Veenstra (Sr.)

Top newcomers: Corey Hemenway (Sr.)

Outlook: This could be an exciting year for the Trojans, who return all five starters from a squad that just missed out on a regional berth. They won’t be tall, but Jackson Short, a second-team all-NWC pick, leads a group that is athletic, experienced and aggressive. Look for Meridian to be battling for a spot at state.

Coach’s quote: “These guys amaze me every day with their friendship, the way they treat each other, push each other, and show genuine joy when their teammates succeed. I don’t think I have had a closer group of guys.”

Senior Jolee Sipma

GIRLS

Coach: Mark Gilmore

Last season: 20-7 overall, 10-3 in NWC (tied for third), 1A state qualifier

Top returnees: Jolee Sipma (Sr.), Amanda Schleimer (Sr.), Madeline Bowler (Jr.), Skyleigh James (So.), Finnley Claeys (So.)

Top newcomers: Brynn Neal (Jr.), Annie Vekved (Jr.), Ellie DeWaard (So.), Kadance Blankers (So.), Kayla Aalpoel (So.), Avery Neal (Fr.), Maris Baklund (Fr.), Emily Swanson (Fr.), Arushi Narinder (Fr.)

Outlook: The Trojans have five players with state experience, including Sipma, an all-NWC first-team pick at center. The key will be how their talented group of incoming JV players and freshmen fit in and make the adjustment to varsity.

Coach’s quote: “This is a really good group to work with. We’re pretty young and will need to improve as the year goes on. We’re hoping to be a playoff team by February.”