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Unionís Sarah Good will aim at making it to Pendleton, the final site for the Class 2A tournament, for the second straight season. The Bobcats open the season at home against Crane at 6:30 p.m. tonight.
Union girls basketball team returns a strong group to challenge for a state title for a second straight season
What can Union do for an encore? That’s what the entire world of Class 2A watchers are wondering. Last season the Bobcats peaked at the right time — riding their momentum to the state championship game. Union finished third in the conference standings, but still found its way to the final site in Pendleton. The Bobcats fell to Regis 60-48 in the title game, and now look to move on with a new coach.
Rhondie Johanson will take over for Tessa Nicholson. She’ll have one very important piece of the puzzle to make another playoff run — junior Keesha Sarman.
Sarman was the co-player of the year in the Blue Mountain Conference last year, helping the Bobcats to a 21-8 overall record and 12-4 in conference.
The Bobcats have more than Sarmon coming back, despite the loss of Dani Sturm and Kacie Langford. Union returns juniors Caryson Roberts and Sarah Good. Plus, sophomore Elly Wells gives Johanson a solid foundation to build on. This will help the offense that led the conference in scoring with 51.4 points per game.
Enterprise will not have of other half of the BMC’s player of the year back. Marta Stangel will leave a big vacancy on Mike Crawford’s team. But, the Outlaws have eight seniors on the team this season along with two juniors.
Seniors Haley Riggs, a first-team BMC all-conference selection, and Amy Edison will lead the offense. It will be up to the rest of the team to help with the defensive push, which was the main ingredient of the recipe for success last season. The Outlaws allowed 34 points per game, the lowest in the BMC. Height is a huge factor for the defensive success. Enterprise has six players that are 5-foot-8 or taller.
Elgin is still looking to build its program back up following multiple down years. The Huskies finished the season 3-21 last season and failed to win a conference game, going 0-16. The offense will look to improve behind Miah Slater an honorable mention selection to the BMC team. Elgin scored 29.2 points per game last season, last in the conference. The plus for the Huskies — they graduated one player from last season’s team. The down side, Elgin has one senior on the team this season. Kaitlyn Gilmore is the lone senior, but she will have upperclassmen helping.
There are eight juniors on the team. Slater and Jordyn Anderson give head coach Mike Slater a nice 1-2 punch on the offensive end.
Pilot Rock and Weston-McEwen will be the challengers from the other side of the hill. Caitlyn Zyph leads a Rockets. Pilot Rock finished the season 23-7 overall and went 12-4 in the BMC. The Rockets finished sixth at the state tournament. Depth will be the question mark, the Rockets had seven players on the roster last season, with one player lost to graduation.
Weston-McEwen returns Von Borstel a first-team selection last year. The Tiger-Scots graduated just two players from a team that went 15-10 last season, and 9-7 in conference.