Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Second-year HRVHS girls basketball coach Tom Ames looks around a practice and sees a lot of familiar faces.
Just not many who were in the starting lineup last year.
"We crunched some numbers and figure we lost about 55 percent of everything and about 60 percent of our rebounds," Ames said.
Most of that came from two key players for the Eagles last year - Jaci Bryant and Angie Titus - both of whom are playing collegiate ball this season.
By the end of last season the Eagles' offense largely revolved around getting Titus the ball at the post and then using the fact that she was double- or triple-teamed to their advantage.
There is no one scorer on this year's team who is capable of taking over a game, so Ames said he is going to be relying on his team to play more as a unit this year.
"They are going to have to play together more," he said.
The Eagles return some players with starting lineup experience from last year, including Logan Bailey, Megan Winans, Katie White, Emili Metivier and Danae Burck, but none of them carried a significant scoring load.
"We lost a ton of experience from last year," Bailey said. "A lot of our go to players are no longer here."
That doesn't mean the Eagles are not without options; Winans came into her own as a scrappy post player last year, Bailey is capable of playing at the post of on the wing, as is Burck, and White has experiencing running the offense after being thrust into the starting point guard spot late last season after an injury to Bryant.
Still, the early practices for the Eagles have been like trying to put together a jigsaw puzzle as the team tries to learn new roles and Ames tries to figure out who works best in what spot.
"Our practices have been a lot different this year," Bailey said. "We are still trying to figure out all the pieces."
The Eagles have plenty of returning guards and swing players like Burck and Bailey give them some flexibility.
Still, Ames knows that if the team is going to succeed this year it's going to have to find a new source of points after the loss of Titus, Bryant and three-point specialist Emily Ing.
"We'll be OK," he said. "We have enough kids who have played some minutes and everyone has been through the program."
Across the league, Hermiston figures to again be the favorite to win the league title after returning a large portion of the team that went 12-0 in league play and took fourth in state.
The real battle figures to be for second, where HRV, The Dalles-Wahtonka and Pendleton all find themselves reloading.
On the Eagles team, everyone is learning new roles in the process. Last year's varsity role players are this year's main scorers, and last years JV players are this year's varsity role players.
"We are all coming together from different teams," White said.
The Eagle boys team is going through a similar, if slightly bumpier, transition.
The Eagles are coming off a two-win season, and the player that kept the final score respectable in many of their games, Chris Dirks, is now playing at Linfield.
That leaves first-year head coach Steve Noteboom with plenty of challenges as he sets to work rebuilding the Eagles.
Noteboom knows that the Eagles have a steep mountain to climb, and hopes to use tough man-to-man defensive pressure as an equalizer.
That intensity has kept his players busy in the opening weeks of practice.
"It's a different feel out there," said senior wing Cole Hunter.
"There is a lot more focus on defense," added fellow senior wing Torey Schmidt.
"It's a lot more running," chimed in senior post Cody Walker.
Noteboom has turned to his seniors to help establish the tone early and so far they are responding.
They have simple goals this season: Leave the program better than it was, and earn the respect of their opponents.
"We want to change the view of this program," Schmidt said.
That starts with execution. Noteboom has put in a motion-based offense, centered around cuts, screens and ball movements to try and create scoring opportunities. The Eagles lost every post player with varsity experience last year.
That means that movement, and the ability to quickly master Noteboom's offense, will be key to HRV's success.
The Eagles will have very few chances to show their progress to home fans in the first month of the season, they have only two home games before the new year, with Dec. 8 and Dec. 29 games.
"We are really going to be relying on that senior leadership," Noteboom said.
The first order of business for the Eagles will be winning their first Columbia River Conference game. The Eagles went 0-12 in league last year, with their narrowest losses coming in a seven-point defeat to Hermiston in the league opener, and a nine-point loss to The Dalles in the regular season finale.
Just as on the girls' side, Hermiston figures to be the favorite to win the league after an 11-1 league record last year.
The Eagles will get first crack at the Bulldogs at home in the league opener Jan. 6.
The Eagles are hoping to improve on last year's performance and have some young players, such as Ryan Wheat, who showed promise in varsity time last year, who will not only be counted upon to contribute this year, but in years to come.
But for this year's seniors, they hope to set the team off in the right direction.
"We don't want to be a joke," Hunter said. "We want to be the change."
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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 www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge