Lumberjills Ready To Take Names
After losing 5-players to graduation, one would think a team would be down, but no would be an answer you would hear in Valley Lumberjack territory. They return a projected starting five of (5-4) Jamey West, (5-7) Rachel Bates, (5-7) Shyanne Moore, (5-9) Reagan Dallison and (5-8) McKinlee Yoho will give second year Head Coach Kasey Sapp and assistant coach Cody Jenkins a solid group to build a contending team to compete in the Mason-Dixon and OVAC Class-A tournament.
Leading the way is senior West a 4-year letter-winner, as well as juniors Bates and Yoho. They also have a pair of nice sophomores in Moore and Dallison .
Wests’ specialty is defense, where she covers the other teams top offensive guard, and normally shuts them down. Besides her defensive ability, she is a very good player at the line, she shoots over 70 percent from the line, but has struggled with the long-ball.
Yoho, set out last season with a knee injury and is ready to get with the program. She had an outstanding sophomore season, before being sine-lined. She is an outstanding defensive player as well as a top notch shooter who’s range is solid inside the arch. She ran the floor extremely well and finished drives with the best of them.
Bates is an outstanding player that shuffles her feet and can do all the things needed in building a solid program. She can shoot the rock, haul down a rebound, finish off drives and boxes-out and set screens. Just an all-round player.
Dallison is also a solid player, too. She is a very good re-bounder and a player that can give you close to a double-double every night. If she has a weakness, its not foreseen by many.
Moore had a break-out freshman season, like Bates and Yoho, she can do a lot of things well. She was a solid player last season on both sides of the ball. She is an excellent driver, and re-bounder, who sees the floor well and dishes it out and starts the break, and her hustle is second to none. She can get the ball out on the fast break and be the one to finish the break. She has all positive stuff, and could lead the team if needed.
However, to be a good ball team you must have a few solid teammates that come off the bench and excel, and the Lumberjills have a few that can spot-start and come into a game at any time and contribute right away.
Seniors Kaeleen Utt (5-3), and Brittany Kennedy (5-11) will be the first ones off the bench and could spot-start at any time and not miss a beat. Kennedy looks to beef up the defense and add another girl that can score. Sophomores Kim Soles (5-1), and Madison Barnette (5-6) look to challenge some girls for varsity time, while freshmen Addison Brown, Zoe Irvin and Andrea Thomas as well as Kennedy and Utt will look to give the starters a run for their money which will benefit both the team and themselves in the future.
“Coach Jenkins and I see a lot of upside to this team,” said Sapp. “The girls are all working very hard, and we look forward to getting the season started.”
This sports writer looks for Valley to struggle early on, but there is a lot of what if’s. If Yoho can get back to being the player she once was before her injury and if Dallison and and Kennedy can control the paint both offensively and what if Moore and Bates do what they do, and if West can knock down a shot or two to open up the inside, the team will be fine.
The Valley Lumberjills will struggle early on to replace the departed Caitlyn Underwood, Kendall Williams, Jenna Dallison, Emma Ueltschy and Summer Goodrich.