By Jeremy McDonald
AURORA, Ore.– The expectations are still the same for North Marion, but the route and how they will get there will be a very different one in 2019.
The goal of getting back to Forest Grove and contenting for a 4A title has been the same after their sixth-, third-, and fourth-place finishes under Trevor Bodine who is entering his fourth-year at North Marion. But with eight Varsity girls and the lone height they have is five-eleven Katie Ensign will present a new obstacle for the squad this season.
While Ensign remains at Wing being a good shooter as she is, Mallory Patzer and Carter Crawford will fill the gap left by Raymee Boese and Paige Martin in the post. Both are roughly five-nine compare to six-one and six-two the Huskies had last winter.
It’s a weird feeling too, it feels like a similar team that Bodine had his first-year in 2016-2017. Not much height as Lindy Wing, who was in attendance Wednesday, and Hannah Kinniburgh were similar in height to Crawford and Patzer this year as the Huskies will look to compete again this season for Forest Grove.
“We’re quicker this year. We got some really good experience, that’s going to help us a little bit with Katie and Mya (Hammack). Carter’s being around for a while, Dani’s (Christenson) been around for a while so they know the system,” said Bodine. “I’m putting in a little bit of a new offense in this year, but we’re going to run some of our old stuff.
“So it’s just a matter of knocking down some shots and valuing the ball. Reducing our turnovers, taking high percentage shot. We’re going to try to get a couple more possessions this year, so we’re going to run more since we’re a little quicker.”
In their quarterfinal game, something Bodine made reference too, North Marion shot 24.5-percent against Newport. Bodine admits too, as he helped with a few girls shooting style over the summer, there’s only so much you can do in season to fix mechanics while you prepare for the next game.
The trick will be hitting their stride early in games to build confidence and rely on that defense that has won them at least 20-games each of the last three seasons.
“Rebounding will be tough; we can use the speed to get around them this year and moving the ball around faster. Defense, we’re quicker than them so we can read them more,” said Megan Netter. “We can use (our speed) on fast breaks. Just pressing them hard this year.”
Over the summer basketball action they took Cottage Grove, who had four girls standing at six-foot-one, to overtime before falling to the Lions as they tested out their speed before Winter practice start.
“We’re much faster this year, so we’re hoping that will help us with our speed. Out-run them, so that will help us,” said Netter.
The experience from last year with North Marion playing in California with schools that had 2,500 kids, the Evergreen Tournament at Hidden Valley High School and playing the Elite 8 only has helped them entering this season said Bodine.
“We’ve played some pretty tough teams in those tournaments. A lot of those schools were way bigger than we were. Some of those schools have 2,500 kids in their entire school, they have a lot more girls to choose from than we do,” said Bodine. “So getting into those kind of games, getting back to the final eight again like we did last year. I feel like we’ve been on the cusp three-straight years now of being really close, we just couldn’t close it out.
“But we’re going to do like we always do and put the work in, worry about the result later.”
North Marion kicks off the 2019-2020 season December 4 at Marshfield before hosting Corvallis December 10 for their home opener.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald