By Jeremy McDonald
STAYTON, Ore.—It was one of those years in which their defense was spectacular and it paid off for the Regis Rams this past Spring.
With an already short-season and fighting for a spot in the 2A Cumulative Week Playoffs to boot, the Rams knew they could turn on their defense as they went 12-3 on the year. Reaching the opening Round of the 2A postseason before falling to Bandon 41-36 on June 22.
“It was a weird season we played (in the Spring). We played really good in games….we won some games where offensively we couldn’t hit anything. Rhythm wasn’t there, but we won because of defense. We had some really good defensive outputs that helped us,” said second-year Head Coach Bart Stepp.
“Defense is always key. It’s what’s going to win us games. We practice defense as much as we practice offense, it’s half the game. If you’re good with defense, it’s going to keep you in games and you’ll win some games even if your offense isn’t there for you. Last year all of our games from top-to-bottom were tough in league, it was so close and I’m sure it’ll be the same this year.”
Regis finished second in the tough Central Valley Conference at 12-2, finishing a game behind Central Linn and three ahead of East Linn Christian Academy.
And though they graduate four crucial seniors from that squad, they return three starters for this year. Ava Silbernagel, Whitley Stepp and Adelle Otter bring back starting experience. Amy Martinez, Kaylee Sibernagel and Allison Hendricks were also on the Varsity roster in the Spring returning.
With 12 girls in the program, three in which are freshman and another two sophomores, it’ll be up to the returners to help bring those younger girls up to speed to duplicate the Spring’s success again this season.
“It’ll be a challenge, there was a lot of senior leadership there (last year),” Stepp starts. “We got certain players coming back. We got three starters returning so we got some key players returning for us.”
“I don’t think it’ll be a problem at all. I think we’re going to have a strong team this year and we’re going to do great this season,” adds Ava Sibernagel. “We had some really good point guards (last season), which was really helpful for the team but I think we got some good replacements, which is awesome.”
Regis will open the season Monday, December 6, when they travel to Westside Christian to play Scio in the Westside Christian Tournament. The Rams first open game of the year will be December 13 when they host Colton before hosting the Regis Holiday Tournament between December 17 and 18.
CVC play will start January 4 when they host Monroe.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald