After playing together for four six-month seasons with the Amateur Athletic Union, the girls of the Enterprise Hotshots have shot their last basket together as a team.
Four of nine players Sarah Aschenbrenner, Tiffanie George, Darby Gassett and Sarah Finifrock are eighth graders and will advance to Enterprise High School next year, leaving behind five players with their future as a Hotshot in doubt. It will be difficult to replace the departing players, though the rest of the team hopes to continue on through their junior high years.
The remaining Hotshots are seventh graders Alyssa Finifrock, Madison Plew (the lone player from Wallowa), Reece Christman and Ashley Exon and sixth grader Lexie Gassett, who hope to continue as the Hotshots.
The majority of the team members have been playing in AAU tournaments around the region together since they were in 3rd through 5th grade (AAU teams usually play the level of the oldest players) 72 games in four years with a record if 34 wins and 38 losses.
Typically, the girls practice together every Sunday from October into March when they they dont have tournaments.
Coaching the Hotshots are head coach Travis Huffman and assistant coaches Gary Gassett and Alysha Huffman.
This is truly a time in my life I will miss. I enjoyed spending Sundays and tourneys with such great girls and their families, Huffman said. It is a direct tribute to how these girls act just by watching the support and direction they get from their parents, grandparents, and aunts/uncles/siblings.
Assistant coach Gassett added, I am so proud of all of the girls. It takes especially dedicated kids to put that much time and effort into a six- month season. It has been so much fun to coach these girls.
Their last two tournaments were in the first two weekends in March, playing in La Grande and Imbler, with the Hotshots earning a 3rd place in the Imbler tourney.
Most of the girls also played junior high basketball this year as well as on the Hotshots. There was only one game conflict, and in that case the girls played with their junior high team.
The lone Wallowa player, Madison Plew, joined the Enterprise girls on the Hotshots this season and she also played Wallowa junior high ball.
This season the team played three tournaments in Lewiston, Idaho, one at home in Enterprise, three in La Grande and one in Imbler.
Stats from the final tournaments are as follows: Aschenbrenner, 44 points, 13 steals, 12 assists, 38 rebounds; George, 42 points, 13 steals, 6 assists, 36 rebounds; Darby Gassett, 33 points, 18 steals, 22 assists, 29 rebounds; Exon, 18 points, 8 steals, 9 assists, 17 rebounds; Plew, 15 points, 8 steals, 5 assists, 12 rebounds; Sarah Finifrock, 11 points, 7 steals, 2 assists, 20 rebounds; Alyssa Finifrock, 5 points, 4 steals, 3 assists, 13 rebounds; Christman, 4 points, 5 steals, 10 assists, 10 rebounds; and Lexie Gassett, 4 points, 9 steals, 3 assists, 9 rebounds.
Christman was playing in the La Grande tournament when she was injured. She continued to play, but at the emergency room it was later discovered she had a broken arm, and was forced to sit out the rest of the tourney and the season.
Coach Huffman noted that the girls have given up a lot to represent their schools, families and friends, and said hes happy to have been part of their lives and looks forward to watching the girls grow.
The coach predicts good things from his Hotshots in the future: Watch out Blue Mountain Conference, theres a storm coming your way and it isnt going to be good for your team good luck!