Girls hoops hopes for shot at state

Experienced team, new coach bring optimism to HRV girls hoops.

"Flory up the wing. Passes inside to Halliday. Swings it back out to Meierbachtol. Kicks it outside the arc to Benjamin for the shot -- good!"

Sound familiar?

The names maybe, but the playing surface has drastically changed, from grass to hardwood. And instead of keeping track of goals, the stat sheet will chart the number of field goals.

It's basketball season, and although more than half the HRV girls varsity roster was also on the soccer team, this veteran team also features two of HRV’s top volleyball players, Lesley Betts and Lindsey Sanguras.

"This group has a lot of experience and an attitude that they can compete with anyone," said first-year head coach Tracy Norton. "The entire varsity squad is extremely hard working and we should win a lot of games."

Two of the most determined players on the team, junior point guard Becca Meierbachtol and senior forward Mickie Halliday, recently finished their state playoff run with the soccer team, and will carry that emotion into the starting lineup for the Eagles.

Meierbachtol will manage a similar role on the court as she did on the pitch, guiding the team's offense with her savvy ball skills, leadership and court awareness.

Halliday, who will rotate with Betts in and out of the starting five, is one of the team's fiercest rebounders and will use her aggression and size to help control the middle for the Eagles.

"Mickie is an extremely hard worker on the boards and will improve her playing time with her rebounding skills," Norton said.

Starting shooting guard Lindsay Benjamin and first-string center Meghan Merz were also part of the soccer girls' playoff run and hope to infuse the same energy into the hoop team.

The sharpshooting Benjamin led the team in scoring last season and will carry much of the scoring load for HRV in her senior season. Merz, a 5'10" senior, is the team's most imposing physical force and Norton will rely on her heavily to keep the oversized Central Catholic and Barlow girls from dominating the glass.

Sanguras, also a senior, rounds out the starting lineup at wing (shooting guard/small forward), and along with Benjamin and Becki Flory, is one of the Eagles' best outside shooters.

Flory will be the first guard off the bench and Norton believes she will make a big difference in the Eagles' offense with her quick first step and moves to the hoop. Susie Benton will also see extensive time at the two-guard, but is more of a passer than a shooter.

Backing up Merz at the center spot will be 5'9" senior Meghan Stintzi and 5'11" junior Brittany Reed, who will float between the JV and varsity squads.

"Our depth up front is going to be a question mark at the beginning of the season," Norton said. "We don't have a lot of height and it’s going to be important for us to put pressure on the other teams' ball handlers so they don't have a chance to get the ball in low.

"But if we can use our speed and quickness to our advantage, I think we're going to surprise some people," she said.

The Eagles will employ a half-court man-to-man defense and use their aggressive style to frustrate opposing teams before they can send the ball inside.

On offense, they will try to get the ball up the court quickly and utilize the fast break whenever possible. Norton said the emphasis this year will be on the open shot, regardless of which player has it, then crashing the boards.

The Eagles will have their work cut out for them in the size-dominated Mt. Hood Conference, but Norton is confident that if they play their aggressive, up-tempo style, they can sneak up on the second-tier teams such as Gresham, Centennial and Reynolds.

"I'm not really sure we fit in right now," Norton said. "We could be anywhere from second to sixth in the conference "But my goal is to get to state, and I know if the girls believe in themselves, we can accomplish that goal."

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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