By Jeremy McDonald
AURORA, Ore.– With roughly eight girls in the gym Thursday night practicing and another on the sidelines due to recovery from an injury, North Marion know the challenges ahead for the 2017 season.
Last year was their best season in years, finished sixth in 4A under first-year Head Coach Trevor Bodine, was great-and-all as they return the bulk of their line-up in 2018; only graduating Kyia Brooks, Bethany Dron and Ashley Bowman.
“We did pretty good, we still have the same players,” said Lindy Wing, who averaged 3.6 rebounds a game in the three-games of the Elite 8 as a junior in 2017 “So ending sixth at State, we have a lot to look forward too because we’re going to improve, and we have a lot of the same girls here.
“Hopefully we make it to State.”
It’ll be an interesting season nonetheless. Wing will be out for a few weeks recovering from a knee surgery stemming from a Volleyball injury, Mid-December Paige Martin will have surgery in December about the time Wing comes back, and the question of replacing Emily Scanlan who transferred to Wilsonville before the start of the year.
But, the Lady Huskies know they’ll battle through the adversity.
Freshman Mia Hammack will be taking Scanlan’s spot, and though she doesn’t have the wingspan of Scanlan, the Northwest Stars-AAU player does play like a upperclassman instead of being a ninth-grader.
“We filled Emily’s spot with Mya, offensively I think we’re a little better. Defensively, we’re certainly going to miss Emily’s length and reaction time, Emily was able to get steals,” said Bodine on the change and on Mya. “But Mia is right there defensively already. She’s super quick, she’ll be guarding the biggest offensive threat of whoever we play.
“She’s not quite as long, but super quick and anticipates well and it’s really impressive.”
For Hammack, who practiced with the Varsity over the summertime in the Summer League season and showed flashes of great play with North Marion, the nerves are there but knows her teammates will support her in stepping into the starting lineup.
“I’m a little nervous, but I have a really good team beside me and I think we’re going do really well this year,” said Hammack on stepping up to fill the role. “So I think it’s going to be good.year.”
Martin, who will be seeing a few extra minutes this year in place of Wing with the other post before going into surgery that will put the rest of her season on hold until next year, talked about how important it is for them to get rolling strong to start the season though the lack of depth as Bodine pointed out.
“We all have to step up and respond,” said Martin. “Just working hard and getting better at it.”
Though the bench is a concern for Bodine, the experience is there in the returners starting with the seniors in Ally Umbenhower, Hannah Kinnburgh and Wing.
“My biggest concern is the bench and staying out of foul trouble and keeping girls on the court and it’s true with any team that only has seven or eight players that are strong and have a lot of experience. So luckily we have three seniors who have a lot of experience and our freshman plays like a junior.
“And Katie (Ensign) got a lot of minutes last year, a lot of good minutes as far as gaining experience and Raymee (Boese) had a good summer. Really improved over the summer, she only played like two-and-a-half minutes of varsity last year, that’s it.”
Boese took advantage of those two-plus minutes in one game in 2016, helping the Huskies defeat Henley to advance to the Elite 8 that followed the 53-51 win on March 4.
She came in in our Henley game that allowed us to go to the Final 8 and that was her only two-and-a-half minutes of Varsity all year,” said Bodine on Boese. “She didn’t practice with us, she didn’t swing up or anything. I put her in because they had a big girl and I needed someone with size and she came in and scored the biggest basket of her career and she has done nothing but develop since then.
“She’s going to be a good one to have inside at the post and allow me to float Hannah around on the perimeter, (Kinniburgh) will play inside and outside but she’s a good three-point shooter so I’ll like to have her on the perimeter as well.”
With the season start on November 30 versus Tillamook at North Marion High School and the knowledge of what they know now from last year and with all the returning talent, though they maybe short of, the Lady Huskies are ready to go.
And with their few seniors on their roster this year, similar to last season with three seniors, will look to leave their mark for the underclassmen while making this season as memorable as last seasons.
“Basically to give it all you got, you only get four-years and so make the best out of it and finish strong and pretty much do it as a team,” said Wing.
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Photos By Jeremy McDonald