As the first day of basketball practice started this year, Coach Mark Swartout was relieved to see senior Tristan Schoepf walk into the gym with no injuries.

Schoepf, the starting quarterback for the EHS football team, was sidelined for most of the first half of the basketball season last year after suffering a broken collarbone in the Cruisers senior night football game against Cedar Park Christian.

Schoepf came out of the football season a little banged up, but nothing that would hold him back from basketball.

“We really missed Tristan out on the court to start the season last year,” Swartout said. “He is like a coach on the floor for me. He knows the offense well and is a great leader. He is one of our team captains, one of our top scorers and distributes the ball well to his teammates. With having him back to start the season, we feel confident he will give us the spark we need to start the season off right.”

Besides Schoepf playing a factor in the team’s success this year, Swartout will look to the returning starts from last year.

Senior Jackson Roulst, standing at 6-feet and 6-inches tall, will be a big presence down low for the Cruisers.

Jackson is our big guy who gives us a physical presence in the post and a big energy guy,” Swartout said. 

Sophomore guard Kekoa Visperas, 6- feet, is “one of the team captains, is an all-around player and he will also be one of the team’s top scorers and distributors.”

Alex Brymer, a 5-feet and 10-inch junior guard is also “one of the team captains and will bring a lot of intensity to the floor.”

Brymer is a great defender who loves to wreak havoc on the offense.

The final starting spot will go to 6-feet tall junior guard Zach Smith.

“Zach may be the best athlete on the team,” Swartout said. “He will be a defensive pressure guy and an outstanding outside shooter for us and goes to the rim hard.”

Coming off the bench for the Cruisers will be seniors Jarod Humphrey and Kyle Perry; juniors Jeremy Knoblauch, Kaden Foster, Zach Root and Tyrese McElyea; and sophomore Cameron Hatler.

With the South Puget Sound League Athletics (SPSLA) 2A being split into three divisions this year (North, East, and West), the coach is feeling pretty confident in his team.

“I think we have a good shot at competing for the number one spot in our division,” Swartout said. “It’s a very balanced and competitive division. We will have to be ready to go every night.”

The Cruisers will open up the 2018-19 season on Nov. 27 at home when they host the Rochester Warriors. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. They will finish out the week by hosting the Elma Eagles at home. Tip-off will be at 7 p.m.