COLUMBIA BASIN HERALD
MOSES LAKE — North Idaho College didn't even win the NWAC East last season, but the Cardinals got hot at the right time and won their first Northwest Athletic Conference men's basketball tournament.
That's how tough the conference is, the past three NWAC Tournament champions have come out of the East. Playing in a conference that includes North Idaho, Walla Walla, Spokane, and Yakima Valley takes a big punch just to get to the postseason.
Second-year Big Bend head coach Mingo Scott set out to make his lineup bigger and more athletic this season to see if they can't muscle their way back into tournament contention. He returns trigger-man Koby Huerta, a 5-foot-10, a sophomore out of Kentwood to run the show at the point guard.
Scott was successful in adding size and athleticism to the lineup with Joey Andrews, a 6-5 shooting guard from Riverton, Utah, that's back after taking a year off from basketball. They also added Seraphin Decker, a 6-3 guard, a transfer from Tohono O'odham Community College in Sells, Ariz. At 6-3, Decker, who averaged 14 points and six assists a game at Tohono O'odham, can create matchup problems on the perimeter.
Big Bend also returns 6-8 Miles Brown, who averaged 11 rebounds and 10 points at the post a year ago. The old guy, Denis Ulyanchuk from Moses Lake is another wide body to the mix at 6-6. The 23-year-old former Chief has the ability to run the floor and is expected to contribute at both ends of the floor.
"What I learned last year was that we needed to get bigger and more athletic, and we did that. The East is such a beast conference that we have to play more intense and focus on playing hard and playing with energy every single night," Scott said. "Our goal is to get up and down the floor, but we're looking to take advantage of individual matchups and run some set stuff too."
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