By Jeremy McDonald
GERVAIS, Ore.– This current group of Gervais Girls basketball seniors just seemed to picked up where the senior group from two years ago did and carried the standard forward as the Cougar girls program returned to Pendleton this past Winter, Falling in back-to-back close battles with Bandon and Stanfield at the final site.
This group is close. Family-like having been playing together for so long. This close senior group that includes Sofia Contreras, Josie Schultz, Izzy Boyd and Ava Sellers lead the way. Olivia Boyd and Addy McCargar and Cassie Mendoza are also returning as this group are looking to take the next step as a program and bring home its first State Trophy since the 1990’s. Using their experience of playing in those big games going into this season as they learn their new system under first-year Head Coach Enrique Sandoval.
“That’s definitely what we wanted to do, but we’re definitely a different group from that senior group. We play a lot different, we just try to mesh and just continue what we did last year and take it a little farther, Sellers starts. “We’re going to take that into this year and have that experience coming back from those games. That’s something that a lot of teams couldn’t pull from. So that’s something that we have an advantage of is experience playoff wise.
“That’s going to be one of our strengths. Just learning our system, it’s going to be new. So just learning how to mesh with our new system, new coach and we know how to play together. So we just have to know how to play together in our new system.”
Sandoval brings in the same intensity they were used to as they started practice Thursday. The squad started off the season on November 30 against Yamhill-Carlton. A matter of fact, four of their first six games are against playoff-caliber teams before they hop into the Crusader Classic before the New Year and go into Tri-River Conference play in early-January.
“I’m so excited for this season, I’m so happy with the team lately. We are getting ready to go. Even with the new change in coach, we’re still coming back hard and it may be a little different. We’re still going to be right up there,” Contreras said. “In the beginning games we’ll bring a new style that not a lot of people ahve seen from Gervais, but as we develop our skills I know that we’ll compete with the top contenders just like we have all these past years.”
Tip-off against the Tigers will be at 5:30pm on November 30.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald