By Jeremy McDonald
AURORA, Ore.– Inside the main gym at North Marion High School, the Girls Basketball practice there was very instead; college-like almost as first-year head coach Trevor Bodine coached up his team entering the second week of the season.
Hannah Kinnburgh points to how intense the practice are as they look to start forming consistency as a unit within practice.
“They can be intense,” Hannah Kinniburgh describes the practice Monday. “We have to run usually, I think it needs to have some improvement with keeping it consistent and being serious when the coach needs it to be.”16
Kinniburgh was one of the leaders of that seriousness during Monday’s practice, only loosening up once or twice by mid-practice.
Up to this point, the Lady Huskies are looking to carry their momentum from a very successful season last year and just as successful summer league season.
“We had a good summer, we have a lot of good athletes,” said Bodine. “We played a couple of 6A teams and hung with them for a while. West Salem and Canby, we were both either tied or up one or down one at the half.
“And a couple of times during those games we were up seven or eight points on both of those teams and they are pretty good 6A teams, so I was very pleased and they caught on quick, they picked up things very quick.”
That is a good start to continue the momentum from last season that saw them finish 18-8 and 8-2 in the Oregon West Conference as they broke into the Field of 16 for the first time in a few years.
And to carry it over to when the games count here in a few days, they need to stay together as a team while panning out the details.
“We really just need to stay together as a team and I really think we’re going to be successful this year like we were in summer ball,” said Ally Umbenhower. “But we need to strengthen some parts of our game out, I mean we got the skills and we have a lot of potential and really young and we can go far this year.”
Youth indeed they have. The 10 they have on varsity, four are seniors and Bodine was lightening up when he was speaking of a few of the junior varsity kids that could be seeing some varsity team this year as well to add some extra depth to the varsity team this year.
But once the season starts, it’s going to be a battle. The teams in the league will be better and Bodine has been studying game tape from last year to get a feel of how the teams in the conference are and he know that if his team has a chance to get over the hump versus the Cougars, the Stayton’s and even the Philomath’s and Yamhill-Carlton’s; it starts with what they can control.
“Every game is going to be a battle,” said Bodine. “The league is going to be strong again in conference. Obviously Cascade is the team that kind of sets the tone in the conference again this year, so our goal is to play hard and give them the biggest challenge that we can.
“But everyone’s going to be better. Stayton is going to be good, they got a new coach. A couple of other teams have new coaches. So for my girls, I just want to worry about what we can control, what we can do in practice to get better every day.”
As they go back to practice from a water break, there’s a sense of confidence for what lies ahead. The challenges, the ups-and-downs of the season. They are ready for it.
Maybe, perhaps, give Cascade a run for their money for the OWC Title as they were a couple plays away from sweeping them last year.
“I think there is a big chance of that,” Kinniburgh said with a smile. “I think we can beat them.”
First game of the season is December 1 on the road at Tillamook.
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