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The Observer Paper 12/22/14

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Home arrow Opinion arrow BASKETBALL TEAMS HAVE HIGH HOPES FOR SEASON

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BASKETBALL TEAMS HAVE HIGH HOPES FOR SEASON

ALL-LEAGUE: Seniors Dollen Stroup (front) and Marcus Wells lead the Joseph Eagles in their quest to return to the state tournament in 2002. (The Observer file photo/C.J. GISH).
ALL-LEAGUE: Seniors Dollen Stroup (front) and Marcus Wells lead the Joseph Eagles in their quest to return to the state tournament in 2002. (The Observer file photo/C.J. GISH).

JOSEPH BOYS

Coach: Ron Lathrop, second season at Joseph.

Returning starters: Marcus Wells, 6-2, sr (all-Wapiti League second team); Dollen Stroup, 6-0, sr (all-league second team); Tyler Nall, 6-0, sr (all-league honorable mention).

Other players: Cody Lathrop, 6-0, sr; Levi Stubblefield, 6-6, sr; Cole Lathrop, 6-5, soph; Dustin Gibbs, 6-2, soph; Eric Butterfield, 6-3, jr; Jake Layton, 6-4, jr; Jimmy Hayes, 5-8, sr; Landon Braden, 6-1, sr.

Last year: 22-5, Wapiti League champions, 1-2 at state tournament.

Rundown: Joseph is the team other Wapiti coaches are looking up at this year literally.

The Eagles have a definite height advantage with the presence of post players Stubblefield and Cole Lathrop. The pair combined for 23 rebounds and 25 points in last weeks 64-46 win over Riverside.

Weve got some good height and some good jumping ability, Ron Lathrop said.

The three returning starters are all all-league players, with Wells the teams second-leading scorer at 12 points per game.

We have some kids that are real interchangeable, Lathrop said. If were out of position all we have to do is just look at one another.

Thats where the experience will come in. Speed is another strength.

Were trying to speed the game up and get up and down the floor. Everybody will try to slow us down and well try to speed it up, Lathrop said.

IMBLER BOYS

Coach: Ken Kramer, fourth season, 67-15.

Returning starters: Brandon Campbell, 6-0, sr (all-Wapiti League honorable mention); Random Glenn, 5-10, sr; Colin Culbreth, 6-2, jr.

Other players: Brad Parret, 6-2, sr; Ethan Davis, 6-0, jr; Troy Hoskins, 6-2, jr; Bryan Davidson, 6-0, jr; Trevor Crow, 5-9, soph; Travis Hoskins, 6-2, soph; Craig Wyatt, 6-1, soph; Alan ODonald, 6-0, fr; Tanner McIntosh, 6-3, fr.

Last year: 21-6, second in Wapiti League, 1-2 at state tournament.

Rundown: A lot of teams would be happy with three returning starters, and the Imbler Panthers are.

But we graduated 37 points, Kramer pointed out, referring to the loss of leading scorers Kevin Johnson and Ian Culbreth.

Kramer calls it a young team, but the players have experience in his system. Ten of the 13 varsity players a year ago are back. Add freshmen Tanner McIntosh and Alan ODonald and the Panthers look to make another run to the state tournament.

Since Ive been here its probably as deep as I can go with the team, Kramer said.

Campbell showed his shooting touch in Tuesdays 66-54 loss to Weston-McEwen, scoring 17 points. Culbreth had 12 and McIntosh, one of the freshmen, added 10.

What the team needs is more time to work together and learn how to play with each other. Kramer sees the team chemistry developing as a strength.

This is as good a working bunch as Ive had here, he said.

ENTERPRISE BOYS

Coach: Duff Pace, fourth season, 15-48

Returning varsity: Kyle Crawford, 6-1, sr (starter); Eric Stangel, 5-9, sr.

Other players: Kelsey Lukens, 6-0, jr; Grady Rawls, 6-2, jr; Tim Gilbert, 6-2, jr; Kevin Gomes, 5-9, jr; Brandon Kiser, 5-9, jr; Shea Capdeville, 6-1, soph; Clay Freels, 5-11, soph; Andy Marcum, 5-8, fr; Tony Swart, 5-11, fr.

Last year: 4-18, seventh in Wapiti League.

Rundown: Pace started preparing for this year last year because he knew he would lose eight seniors. So he made sure he had a group of five sophomores included in the varsity rotation just to get them experience, even if it wasnt much.

Enterprise returns just two full-time varsity players in Crawford and Stangel.

Other than that I have five other boys who practiced and dressed down with me, but really they played JV for us last year.

Those five are Lukens, Rawls, Gilbert, Gomes and Kiser. Rawls scored 37 points in two games last weekend at the Ione Tournament, and Gilbert poured in 22 points, so theyve already shown theyre ready for prime time.

Enterprises weakness, just like last year, is its height. At 6-2, Rawls and Gilbert are the teams tallest players.

That could be a real weakness for us as the season progresses, Pace said. We actually are going to start a taller unit this year than we did last year.

Pace has emphasized fundamentals in practice, but the sparse varsity experience could be a factor this year.

Were not surprising anybody; we know we have our work cut out for us. By midseason, a lot of these younger players are going to be seeing some minutes.

ELGIN BOYS

Coach: Kyle Evans, fifth season, 29-57.

Returning starters: Tyler Davis, 6-3, sr; Justin Harris, sr.

Other players: Jake Williams, sr; Ryan McKone, sr; Brandon Burgess, sr; Nick Southard, jr; Brandon Evans, soph; Skyler Payne, soph; Jeremy Hamill, fr; Charlie Schumacher, fr.

Last year: 3-18, eighth in Wapiti League.

Rundown: One game into the season and Elgin already has a couple of injuries.

Junior Josh Hamill sprained an ankle during practice and is just getting to the point where he can walk without crutches. And in Tuesdays 58-37 win over the La Grande JV, Brandon Evans broke an arm while diving for a loose ball.

Despite Evans injury, expect more diving for loose balls.

More than anything, their determination to win is a strength, said Brandons father, coach Kyle Evans. They really want to do well and theyre working hard in practice.

This isnt a tall team Davis is the tallest player at 6-3 but nobody is shorter than 6-foot, Kyle Evans said.

Davis is the only returning full-time starter, and he scored 20 points in Tuesdays win. Harris started part-time last year. Taking up the scoring slack Tuesday was Wallowa transfer Burgess, who scored 12 points.

Kyle Evans will work on free throw shooting, not to mention getting his team to gel.

The new guys are trying to figure everything out, he said.

WALLOWA BOYS

Coach: Gerry McLain, second season.

Returning starters: Shane Byers, 6-0, sr; Casey Smergut, 6-0, sr.

Other players: Steven Smith, 6-5, sr; Patrick Smergut, 5-10, sr; Joe McDaniel, 5-6, sr; Randy Spaur, 5-11, soph; Caleb Pringle, 6-1, soph; Andrew Long, 6-1, jr.

Last year: 15-8, third in Wapiti League.

Rundown: The surprise team of last season will have to do it again this year with just eight varsity players.

For the varsity and JV combined, we only have 15 kids out. Were going down to the A league (Class 1A) for a reason, McLain said. Its a coachs dream as far as how to decide who to put in because I dont have to think about it.

Only Byers and Smergut have significant varsity experience, but McLain expects Pringle and Spaur to play a lot this year. Randy will probably play center for me quite a bit, McLain said.

Teams that like to run the ball, however, will have a definite advantage over Wallowa because of the lack of depth.

If we get against a team that likes to play up-tempo ball, were going to be in trouble, McLain said.

On the other hand, Casey Smergut, Byers and Spaur are very, very quick and may be the fastest guards in the league, according to McLain.

If we can control the tempo, I think we can be OK.

ENTERPRISE GIRLS

Coach: Mike Crawford, 13th season, 201-86.

Returning starters: Ashley Anderson, 6-1, sr (all-Wapiti League first team, all-state third team); Lacey Nobles, 5-11, jr (all-league honorable mention); Michelle Gardner, 5-7, sr.

Other players: Cami Conrad, 5-7, sr; Justinn Christensen, 5-9, sr; Denette Harvey, 5-9, sr; Kazzie Dawson, 5-10, sr; Valerie Davis, 5-8, jr; Maya Waldron, 5-9, jr; Jennifer Williams, 5-4, sr; Caitlin Baird, 5-11, soph; Jessie Morgan, 5-3, fr.

Last year: 25-4, shared Wapiti League title, second at state.

Rundown: Nine players from that second-place team, including all-state forward Anderson, who averaged 11 points per game last season. She had 28 points last weekend in two wins at the Ione Tournament.

Dawson started two years ago but sat out the 2000-01 campaign because of a knee injury suffered before volleyball season. Shes come back strong, scoring 30 points last weekend.

Weve got seven seniors and three juniors, so weve got some experience coming back, said Crawford, who got his 200th coaching victory Nov. 30 against Sherman County, the team that beat Enterprise for the state title in March. Weve got some excellent athleticism. They just have played a lot of basketball together, so its just going to be a benefit.

Enterprise will run with the ball, especially with the depth off the bench. Getting conditioned for that is the work of the preseason.

Weve got to get in shape and weve got to work on handling the ball and passing the ball, Crawford said.

IMBLER GIRLS

Coach: Dale Wagner, 17th season, 271-106.

Returning starters: Tiffany Rasmussen, 5-8, jr (all-Wapiti League first team); Meaghan Campbell, 5-9, sr (all-Wapiti League honorable mention); Liz Woody, 5-6, jr; Emily Correll, jr, 5-10.

Other players: Amy Clerget, jr, 5-9; Rachel Lowe, 5-6, jr; Mary Zukin, jr, 5-5; Tiffany Campbell, 5-3, jr; Hannah Hall, 5-6, soph; Kayla Ritter, 5-9, soph; Jessica Fulfer, 5-2, soph.

Last year: 21-7, shared Wapiti League title, 0-2 at state tournament.

Rundown: The good news is Imbler returns four starters, including two all-league players in Rasmussen and Campbell. The not-as-good news is the bench has limited experience, which Wagner hopes to build in the preseason.

We have to get them more involved, Wagner said of his subs. They just need more experience.

Rasmussen scored 20 points in the season-opener Tuesday, a 50-41 win over Weston-McEwen, but Wagner likes his teams balance it probably wont be Rasmussen every night.

Tiffany had a hot night, but anybody else could too, Wagner said.

Still, expect Rasmussen to be the teams top scorer; she averaged 11.3 points per game a year ago. Meaghan Campbell, the teams only senior, has also impressed her coach with her improvement.

Im pretty proud of how far shes come since she was a sophomore, even since last year, Wagner said.

ELGIN GIRLS

Coach: Randy McKone, second season.

Returning starter: Ashley Rysdam, sr (all-Wapiti League first team).

Other players: Deleah Wiles; Amber Looslie, soph; Haley Wiles; Rose Darrow; Lacey Heighes; Kristi Case; Kristen Schumacher; Tiffany Fincher; Kim McCrae; Leann Foster.

Last year: 13-9, third in Wapiti League.

Rundown: .Taller teams could make short work of the Huskies this season.

Were real guard oriented, McKone said. Were shorter than weve ever been. Were terminally short.

Elgin is somewhat short on varsity experience, too.

We lost our top three players, so were going to spend some time getting an identity, McKone said.

Another weakness is the lack of post players. But the strength has been the teams teamwork.

Theyve got a great attitude, good drive, and we dont have any individual stars on the team, McKone said. Itll be a collective effort to get anything done.

JOSEPH GIRLS

Coach: Wendy McDaniel, second season.

Returning varsity: Lea Ganos, 6-0, sr; Jill McLaren, sr; Heather Marshall, jr; Licia Miller, jr; Jessie Bothum, 5-11, jr; Jerri Moro, jr; Katie Couch, jr; Mollie Broadbent, 6-0, soph.

Other players: Mandi Moncrief, jr; Anna Yost, 5-11, soph; Tiffany Zimmer, soph; Haddie Carpenter, 5-11, soph.

Last year: 7-14, fifth in Wapiti League.

Rundown: McDaniel will have a hard time staying with the same starting lineup every game. Joseph has more balance in years past, not to mention a little height and some speed.

Its nice to have height combined with speed, McDaniel said. You dont usually get blessed with both of that.

Weve got some depth. Its hard to pick a starting five every week. We really push team basketball. We play a real rounded squad.

The Eagles will have to work on shooting to break the Wapitis top four and advance to district this season. Ganos was the teams leading scorer last season, averaging 7.8 points per game.

We just need to get a lot more consistent in our shooting, McDaniel said.

WALLOWA GIRLS

Coach: Greg Oveson, seventh season with girls, 64-74.

Returning players who started at times: Amanda Wilson, 5-9, jr (all-Wapiti League second team); Laura Lewis, sr; Larae Guillory, jr; Holli Barton, jr; Sandra Deal, 5-9, jr.

Other players: Michelle Odegaard, jr; Mysha Oveson, soph; Lynique Oveson, soph; Megan McLain, 5-11; soph; Natalie Soares, 6-0, sr; Brandy Shelton, sr; Juliann Snyder, jr; Amber Josi, soph.

Last year: 7-16, sixth in Wapiti League.

Rundown: Wallowa has some speed and will try to use that to its advantage this season.

Were going to change the way we do things, Greg Oveson said. Were going to try to put more pressure on the ball than we have in years past.

As far as defense goes, were going to have to give a lot of help because were going to be outsized by just about everybody we play.

The test between now and when the league season starts in January will be to adapt to the coachs changes.

Hopefully well have learned enough that were comfortable with what were doing, he said. Theres still too much thinking and not enough playing basketball.

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