By BEN MCCARTY
News staff writer
November 29, 2006
What the Cascade Locks girls’ basketball team lacks in numbers and speed, it makes up in height, and what the boys’ basketball team lacks in height, it makes up for with numbers and speed. With two different styles of play on the court this season, it could be an interesting year for the Pirates and their fans.
After a solid run over the past several seasons, girls’ coach Donna Nolin has suddenly found her team short on numbers and experience. Her squad has only nine players this year, and only one senior and two juniors.
“We only return two starters, so we are kind of building,” Nolin said.
Without a deep bench to turn to, Nolin will be looking to the players that she has, including the taller ones, to get up and down the court quickly and not lose momentum.
Heather Mohr, the team’s lone senior, does not expect the team’s relative youth to hurt it very much, considering how quickly the new players have picked up the offense.
“All the girls seem to be picking it up pretty quickly this year,” she said. “I’m pretty impressed with the girls’ attitudes.”
Mohr believes that the team can take advantage of its height to be an imposing force on defense that could control the pace of the game.
“I think we should be a great defensive team,” Mohr said. “We’ve got some tall girls and could have the greatest zone defense in the whole league.”
Mikayla Ryan and Kristen Rutherford, the team’s two juniors, and two of the players who will be counted on to make an impact on defense, also foresee a season of aggressive defense by the Pirate girls.
“We all set a team goal to play good defense,” Ryan said.
Rutherford put the mantle on herself and the other experienced players to guide the young team into the season.
“We’re a young team but we’re working hard to make up for that,” she said. “I just hope that the players will be aggressive and will step up.”
Rutherford agreed with the general sentiment that the younger players were adapting quickly, and looks forward to seeing how the team works together in an actual game.
“I’m looking forward to seeing what we can go out and accomplish together,” she said.
Nolin expects a few bumps in the road as the new players get used to playing in games with the team. While she wants to see the team build on its skills and fundamentals, she wants to see them play hard and play well.
“You never walk on the court without the objective of winning,” she said.
On the boys’ side junior Daniel Nolin said that the boys’ team has almost exactly the opposite problem of the girls’ team.
“We lost our big guys but we are going to be faster,” he said.
The team is also working hard on its pressing game to try and force turnovers and stop opponents from being able to get the ball inside to score.
Coach Phil Nolin does have one sizable player to count on, the 6’7” Chris Taylor, who is currently recovering from a football injury, but should be able to play.
Despite losing several big players last season, Coach Nolin expects that his team’s strong guard play and aggressive defense will help them make an impact in their league.
“We’re quicker than last year but we will need to play better defense,” he said.
The team also carries 18 players on the team, a remarkably high percentage of the approximately 60 students at the high school level of Cascade Locks School.
However, the coach says that his team faces some strong challenges in the league.
“It will be a tough league as usual,” he said. “We’ll be finding some things out quickly.”
Despite his team’s lack of depth at the post position, Nolin thinks the team will get its chances and could make a run at district playoffs.
“We’ll get opportunities,” he said. “We just have to go out and earn them.”