By BEN MCCARTY
News staff writer
November 22, 2006
For the HRVHS girls’ basketball team it is out with the old, and in with the not-so-new. The team lost a large group of seniors last season, and stepping into the void will be a group of juniors and seniors who have experience playing together but don’t have much time at the varsity level.
Without a standout scorer, Coach Phil Hukari is looking to put a few new wrinkles in the offensive scheme as the team gets set for a return to the Mount Hood Conference. The team does not have a true post player, but it does have many quicker players and perimeter shooters, so look for the Eagles to be running the floor and taking plenty of jump shots this season. The lack of an inside presence is not necessarily a bad thing for this Eagles squad, as several of the players are excited about the chance to run the floor.
“I’d like to see us successfully run the floor,” junior Megan Clark said. “We’re small but we are fast, so need to get fast breaks.”
Senior Meredith Danko agreed, saying that she felt that the team has “been hustling, and that will come in handy because (the team is) going to more of a running team this year.”
Hukari has been glad to see how well the team has united this season and how well players are taking to their roles.
“I think there is a lot of unity on the team,” Hukari said. “They are all good teammates.”
Despite the fact that many members of the team do not have significant varsity experience, senior Jill Chance believes the team will have no problem functioning as a unit.
“We’ve played together since the eighth grade,” she said. “I think we’ll do well working together.”
While the team does not have a standout scorer, Hukari hopes that one of his experienced players will step into that role as the season goes along and give them a go-to player for key parts in the game.
Danko, one of the most experienced members of the team, could fill that role. So could senior Jacquie Mattson, the closest thing the team has to a true post player.
Mattson, for her part, wants to see the team members who have not seen much time at the varsity level, establish themselves.
“We have won most of our games (at the JV level) and it would be nice to see us do that at the varsity level,” Mattson said.
To do so they will have to get past a tough Central Catholic team that went undefeated in conference play and 23-5 overall last year. It will also mean improving on last year’s 8-15 record.
For player’s such as Chance, just the fact that they will no longer have to make three-hour bus rides to games has done a lot to boost their spirits.
“It’s hard to ride for three hours and then get up for a basketball game,” Chance said.
The team has played several Mount Hood Schools in non-conference play in previous years, so Hukari says that his team has a fairly good idea of what to expect from the opposition.
Hukari has opened up the competition both for playing time and for several of the starting spots, and does not think that things will be settled anytime soon.
“Until the first game, I don’t really know what we have,” he said.