By Jeremy McDonald
EUGENE, Ore.– The question became after their 42-35 loss to Marshfield on March 4 was how the Stayton Lady Eagles Girls Basketball team was going to replace the fire-power of Tess Hendricks and Alyssa Lindemann, two leaders that helped charge the Eagles in a late game rally against the Lady Pirate that game, due to graduation.
Fast forward three-months and three new guards and a fourth on the way were on the court at Sheldon High School were on the court molding themselves around a core group of Varsity girls from this past season’s crew.
Holly McGill and sisters Alli and KJ Nyquist (transfers from Oregon City) were making a splash with names like Alexa Bender, the Smart sisters and Marri Martinez. fourth-guard not present Saturday morning.
Bender talked about how she enjoyed seeing the new faces on the perimeter stepping up the challenge of filling the big shoes left by her graduating teammates.
“They’re fitting in good with the team, they are like a good fit,” said Bender. “They are doing a really good job in filling their shoes. Like Tess’ spot, that’s such a hard position to fill because she was such a good point guard. But I think they’re doing a great job, coming in, the new girls and having their mom as a coach, I think that’ll be hard but they’re really taken it on well.
“I think it’s going to be a good season.”
Alli Nyquist, who was on the Lady Pionners Varsity roster this past season as a sophomore that finished runners-up to State Champions Southridge, knows that the transition from that 6A Level to the 4A level is a big jump; but the soon-to-be-junior is excited to see how her new team does and for her to step up to fill the shoes left by Hendricks and Lindemann.
“It’s different, it’s definitely a transition but I really like it here, I’m really excited to see what comes,” said Alli. “I think it’s really important to fill their shoes and I really want this team do what we did last year and hopefully even better and I’m excited to see what happens. It’s a little different from where we came from, but I’m really excited to see with all the post and guards.”
Alli was doing the same things as Hendricks did last year from the Point Guard position, calling out plays versus Willamette very similarly to that of Hendricks as she directed the offense where to go.
Sister KJ is enjoying the transition as she got some time doing the same and floated around the key as the Nyquist Sisters and McGill, a Junior Varsity player this past season, all were blending with one another with the Varsity returners as if they’ve played together before this summer.
“It’s kind of crazy different but I’m really enjoying the different connections that we can get down here and I love the level of play that we can get to as a team, I’m really enjoying it. Personally for me.” said KJ Nyquist.
Stayton went 2-0 on the day in Eugene and will look to go 4-0 this weekend with two more games Sunday at 4:30pm and 5:30pmin Springfield.
Follow Jeremy McDonald on Twitter at @J_McDonald81 or like jmcdonaldmedia on Facebook!
Photos By Jeremy McDonald