By Jeremy McDonald
AURORA, Ore.– Each of the first two years under Head Coach Trevor Bodine, North Marion Girls Basketball has crept ever closer to the 4A State Championship Game.
They finished sixth in 2017, third in 2018 after losing a two-point game to Cascade in the Semi-Final round this past season. And its uncertain how this year may go with the idea of ‘One Game at a time’, but it’s almost certain now that the Lady Huskies expect to get back to the Final Site again this season after getting their the last two seasons.
“We ‘re trying to build up to what we were last year and what we’re doing to do that is lengthening practices and we’re spending more time in the film room and we’re just giving it our all to be better than we were last year,” said Katie Ensign.
It’ll be slighly challenging to start the season as they lost three crucial starters in Ally Umbenhower on the perimeter and Hannah Kinniburgh and Lindy Wing in the post, but North Marion is returning height in the post with Raymee Boese and a healthy Paige Martin. Both measuring over six-feet plus with their physicality and Ensign that’s five-eleven and could shift down into the trenches from the perimeter with the range she has shooting to go with her long wingspan for rebounds.
“It’s going to be great,” smiled Martin, who missed most of last year due to surgery. “I know Raymee towers over mostly everybody, I definitely think we’re going ot have points with us three down there.”
On the perimeter, Umbenhower’s shooting and leadership will be missed as she led the guard group the past few seasons. She’ll be replaced by returners in Mya Hammack, Mackenzie Ulven and Mar Verastegui, all the three saw Varsity action last season as the squad joked around a bit during practice as they get a refresher course with the plays and different faucets with their first game of the season not until December 5 when they host Stayton to start the season and the opening week of the season coming to a close.
“I think it’s really important, I feel like it’s important to play good with our post and having that strong shooter and I feel like Katie could feel that or Mar because she’s really been working on her jump shot,” said Hammack as they finish up the first week of practice, “I just feel we need to work together as a whole.”
Kaitlyn Kobb, Crater Crawford return as well with Third-degree Black Belt in freshman Mallory Patzer. Megan Metter and Dani Christenson too were others names with the Varsity squad to close out the first week with the squad looking to improve once more this season under their third-year coach.
Game-wise, it’ll be a tough preseason schedule with Stayton, Banks, Seaside and Marshfield as individual games.
Tournament wise they have the Hidden Valley tournament, their hosted Abby’s Holiday Classic before Christmas and the toughest tournament on their schedule in Palo Alto, California with the Eastside College Prep Holiday Tournament in which Bodine has his team in the Elite Division with CIF Playoff team’s like Eastside College Prep and Woodcreek (from Roseville) that will get them prepared for the long haul as they re-enter the Tri-Valley League this season.
“We’re really excited to go down there and get experience playing as a team and team bonding. Helping us reach our potential,” said Ensign of the Eastside College Prep Holiday Tournament.
But, that tournament won’t be until December 27. In the meantime, as they focus up on the season ahead with jokes and knocking off the rust; the excitement is there of what is to come after how the last two seasons ended for the North Marion Girls Basketball program for how this season may go.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald