Climbing The Mountain Again

The EvCC Men’s Basketball Team Looks To Win Their Fifth Division Title in Six Years

The Trojan men’s basketball team will begin its quest of redemption on Friday, November 18th coming off of a disappointing 5th place north division finish and a rare season spent outside of the NWAC tournament. The program previously had 4 consecutive 1st place north division finishes headlined by equal appearances in the Northwest Athletic Conference’s yearly invitational.
Despite the less than optimal outcome from last year’s squad, Head coach Mike Trautman sees only positive takeaways for the upcoming season. Speaking to the pressure last year of pursuing a 5th consecutive North title, “It took a lot of pressure off of our guys. We know we can’t just show up and win games this year. Our team struggled to finish games last year which was a good learning experience and I think will translate to stronger finishes this year” says Trautman. Coach Trautman’s unit had a wealth of success underneath the basket, finishing first in Defensive rebounds 31.9 a game, first in total rebounds 43.6 a game and 4th in total blocks 3.9 a game giving the staff plenty of foundation to build off of.

Coach Truatman, is now into his 7th season as head coach of the Trojans, will have to manage without last year’s leading scorer and rebounder Brendon Redford. Redford served as the tone setter, averaging a team high 14.8 points and 9.8 rebounds a game before transferring out of state. “It’s always hard to replace that kind of production, but I don’t think it will be from one player on this team but a collective. We have 6 or 7 guys who are very capable scorers and we’ve also preached team rebounding this offseason. Our guys have to box out and be prepared to fight for positioning” Coach Trautman said when discussing the challenge of replacing a premier player like Redford.

The Trojan’s will turn to several veteran’s who can provide an experienced presence on the court including 6’7 sophomore forward Leon Sayers. Sayers, who averaged 13.3 points and 5 rebounds a game last season, looks to take a step forward including working with shooting equipment over the offseason “I worked with the ‘gun’ a lot trying to improve my form. It was tough at first but I saw some real improvements”. Sayers said. The North Central High School product also shared the importance of playing more disciplined basketball this season, a concern echoed by Coach Trautman, “We are definitely keeping it in our heads this year that every possession matters and we can’t throw games away late like last year.” Sayers said. The Trojan’s late game woes followed them all season long after a fiery 9-1 start, eventually finishing 16-9 overall including 6 losses by 5 points or less.

Coach Trautman also spoke highly of incoming sophomore guard Colton Spencer. The fiery Lewis-Clark State College transfer led the Warriors in 3pt shooting percentage in his freshman campaign at nearly 40% from beyond the arc. “Colton is new but he has the potential to be a breakout player. He’s a great shooter who brings athleticism and experience to our team.” Trautman said of the Colony High School grad. Spencer averaged 17 points a game his senior year in Palmer, Alaska and a first-team all state honors to go on his resume.
With the addition of Spencer and the leadership of Sayers, Coach Trautman’s squad will look to start the season strong and put last year’s struggles in the rear view mirror beginning with 3-straight home games and a pivotal early-season trip to Lower Columbia College for the Red Devil Classic. “We have built a great culture here. Our expectation will always be to win a league championship but more importantly to achieve that we have to be able to close games out this year.” Coach said of his expectations for this year’s team.