November 30, 2005
Last winter’s three wins out of 20 sounds like a relatively dismal season. Considering, however, the season before that, in which the Hood River Valley High School varsity girls’ basketball team didn’t win a single game, three wins is a notable improvement.
And it is an improvement this year’s girls are working hard to build upon and continue.
The team played its pre-season, blue versus gold scrimmage on Saturday to get a bearing on where they are at fundamentally.
“Overall, I liked what I saw,” Coach Phil Hukari said about the scrimmage. “But there are still a lot of questions as to how we will play this season. We have nine seniors and a lot of competition for spots, which is healthy, but we’re lacking a true scoring leader.”
According to Hukari, much of the team’s pre-season training is on fundamentals, a lack of which has proved to be a downfall in the last few seasons.
“We have so much to cover,” Hukari said. “We’re focusing on the fundamentals, including a heavy emphasis on shooting and pressure.”
Looking to take leadership roles on the court are several of the team’s more experienced seniors, including Chelsey Elliott (one of last season’s top scorers), Jamie Abbott (returning starting post), Rachelle Friend (guard) and Abby Walters (leading outside shooter). Also in the mix are seniors Kaitlin Bauld, Kayla Monahan, Miriah Herman and Samantha Bakurjian.
In addition to the nine seniors, the varsity squad has a lot of young talent to tap, including several players that will see time on the junior varsity and the varsity level.
“We’re really going to utilize our roster this season, with a lot of rotation,” said Hukari, who is in his third year as head basketball coach.
The Intermountain Conference was stacked last year with some of the state’s top 4A girls’ teams, including Pendleton and Redmond high schools. The Eagles were often overwhelmed by the competition, as they were not a particularly big or physical team, like the Buckaroos, for example. Redmond and Bend look to return strong teams as well, followed by Hood River, Crook County and The Dalles rounding out the conference.
We’d love to fight to a playoff spot,” Hukari said about the IMC. “But we’re aiming more to gain respectability in the league this year. We’re looking for progress to be our sign of improvement. Our chemistry is going to be very important. The question this season is, will we be a unit and come together as a team? That will help us get through the hard times.”
Varsity girls’ home games
Dec. 10 vs. Crook County 2:45 p.m.
Dec. 13 vs. Reynolds 7 p.m.
Dec. 30 vs. Madison 7 p.m.
Jan. 13 vs. Summit 7 p.m.
Jan. 14 vs. Mountain View 2:45 p.m.
Jan. 24 vs. Hermiston 7 p.m.
Jan. 31 vs. Pendleton 7 p.m.
Feb. 2 vs. Bend 6 p.m.
Feb. 11 vs. Redmond 2: 45 p.m.
Feb. 14 vs. The Dalles 7 p.m.