By Jeremy McDonald
GERVAIS, Ore.– Two seasons ago, Gervais found themselves celebrating on the court of Sprague High School after Scio’s last second shot feel short after Isabella Vasquez’ left-handed lay-in lifted the Cougars over the Loggers to advance to the Field of 16 against Dayton.
Fast forward to the end of last season and the young Gervais squad with five freshman, saw Jefferson leave them from returning to the Field of 16
“Losing last year to Jefferson the way we did, with them being freshman it made them hungry. It made all the returners hungry,” starts Head Coach Kyle Buse. “Lex (Alexis Luna) wants to come back and finish her Senior Year off great. Bella (Isabella) wants to return to the court because Bella wasn’t on the court last year.
“So I think there’s things like that that everyone has their own fire burning to get back on the court.”
Vasquez, who had a promising freshman year saw her sophomore year derailed due to injury and Buse said that her presences last season could have helped the team a lot. Now as a Junior, Vasquez is happy to be healthy and ready to go for this season.
“I’m so happy and excited this year, it’s my junior year and I’m ready to play. I mean I sat and watched the whole year on the bench, I’m just ready to get out there and start playing,” said Vasquez.
As the first day of practice starts, the team’s fire is there but with two-and-a-half weeks until their first game of the season against Scio, there’s plenty of time to work out the fine details as they struggled a little with the three-man weave that transitioned into a two-on-one drill.
“It’s going to take all two-and-a-half weeks, 14 practices that we need so we’ll use any moment we can to get going,” said Buse with a rare smile as he wants to run more high-tempo this season. “We’re all practicing together this year, we’re not going to split them up too much JV and Varsity so it’s high expectations for everyone from the incoming freshman to the seniors that are returning.”
With a void left by the senior class led by Natali Herinckx, Daisy Correra and Karina Ramos, it’s now up to the returners like a Mary Davidson, Lilly Welburn, Kate Hansen, Celi Vasquez along with Bella Vasquez and Luna to fill those big shoes in 2018-2019 with them entering a new league.
A league that features Kennedy and will resemble going up against Blanchet Catholic and Salem Academy that these Cougars have seen the last few years in the old 3A PacWest Conference and the Trojans the defending State Champs.
Obviously, Gervais wants to go after them because of that reason, but also want to go out and beat everyone else as well with that same fiery passion to win ballgames. But hey, they’re energetic for the season to come.
“We got a new league and everything, our goal this year is to play hard and play smart and beat every team. Try our best and Kennedy is going to be the tough one so I can’t wait,” said Isabella Vasquez.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald