As of Wednesday, December 27, 2017
Eight games into his first year as head coach of The Dalles girls’ basketball team, Brian Stevens has seen some good things and areas that need improvement.
Overall, the team is 3-5 with a five-game losing streak, but the players have a desire to improve and put in the extra repetitions necessary to put up a good showing when Columbia River Conference play begins on Jan. 19 against Hermiston.
“This team is coming together,” Stevens said. “We can go eight or nine deep to play the press defense we like to run. There are girls that fill a specific role and have embraced the team concept. When you have that, as a coach, I know I can have faith that any girl on put on the floor is going to try and contribute anyway they can.”
Last Friday in Bend against the No. 10-ranked Lava Bears, the Riverhawks trailed by a 16-4 margin through one period, and 31-12 at the break on their way to a 63-32 loss, the team’s fifth straight.
TD had 16 turnovers and shot 3 of 26 from the floor in the opening half, as Bend (6-3 overall) threw everything they could to stop any offensive flow.
“They are much taller at every position than we are,” Stevens said. “To go with that they are big and strong, weight room strong and they are very skilled too. It is fun to watch them play a free-flowing offense and a press defense. Bend is where we are training to be.”
Bailey LeBreton scored nine points, pulled down six rebounds and had two assists, and senior point guard Paulina Finn followed up with nine points, 10 boards, four steals, three assists and a block shot.
Kilee Hoylman had her best output of the season, as she hit for six points, grabbed five steals, dished off three assists and blocked a shot.
In this losing skid, the Riverhawks (3-5) have faced two top-14 5A programs and 6A Glencoe, No. 14, and also lost two games by six points or less, one of those a 47-46 setback to Ridgeview on Dec. 12.
Even with the losses, Finn is thinking big picture with this varsity group, stating that everyone will eventually find their rhythm and flow.
“We know what we are capable of when we put it together,” Finn said. “We have talented players here and I know we all want to win. We are extra motivated, because I think a lot of people didn’t believe we were going to be any good this year. We want to come out hungrier and show them that we can compete against these good teams.”
TD faces 4A La Grande (3-4) at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 6 at Kurtz Gym.