Wednesday, May 12, 2021
May 12, 2021

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Washougal Boys: Panthers ready to take next step on basketball floor

By , Columbian sports reporter

The Washougal Panthers are hoping an extended postseason football run translates to basketball success.

On the gridiron, the Panthers advanced to the state quarterfinals for the first time since 1974. While it delayed the beginning of basketball season for several players, it proved Washougal has the athletes to compete.

“The football players were a little in shock of being here,” third-year coach AJ Labree said on the second day the players returned to the hardwood. “But I heard good things about what they did on the football field. I expect them to pick it up and take on some leadership roles.”

Among the football standouts turning out for hoops are 6-foot guard Brevan Bea, 6-1 guard Julien Jones and 6-3 forward Jakob Davis.

Davis missed all of last season after injuring his knee during the first game of last year’s basketball season. He is fully healthy and gives the Panthers a big body on the interior. He joins 6-5 junior Gabe Kent and 6-3 freshman Yanni Fassilis in the post.

“Traditionally my teams have been guard-oriented and shoot a lot of 3s,” Labree said. “This year we have a lot more size so we’ll have to look inside a little more.”

The Panthers, who haven’t won a playoff game since 2016, are aiming for a leap forward this season.

“We’re still waiting to take that next step as a program where we’re competing with the top teams in the league,” Labree said. “But playoffs is the goal and we’ll go from there.”