Lance Homan, the Joseph Charter School girls basketball coach, looks satisfied as he watches his squad drill. The Eagles are already ranked third in the state.
Homan’s squad only lost one senior but that senior was the virtually unstoppable Alexis Sykora.
“The team won’t be as Alexis-oriented,” Homan said. “We should have a good mixture of girls scoring.”
While he noted the squad is somewhat height challenged, he also sees a more athletic team that should be fun to watch as it gets up and down the court more quickly.
“We’ll play to our strengths and see what happens,” he said.
Other than the loss of Sykora, the team’s starting lineup will remain the same. The coach said that fans can expect to see more court time for Madelyn Nelson and Camille Crenshaw.
He added that other players will play different roles. Haley Miller will play more on the inside than in times past, for example.
“Her length and tenacity will be a real help for sure,” Homan said.
The team’s schedule is the toughest Homan can remember during his tenure, and one of the toughest 1A schedules in the state this year. The Eagles play several top-ranked teams including St. Paul, Crane (whom the Eagles defeated on Dec. 1), Perrydale and Powder Valley twice.
“It could be bad or good,” Homan said with a smile.
The coach counted athleticism as one of the team strengths this year, which should also lead to good shooting percentages. The defense is no slouch, either. More than either, Homan thought the team’s camaraderie would take them far down the path toward the state playoffs.
As always, Powder Valley is the squad’s main competition for the league crown.
“We’re not big, so we’ve got to work hard, but this group is willing to put the time in,” he said. “Basketball is basketball, but we’re going to continue to work on the little things,”
Homan said “everything” when asked what the team the team needs to work on. He added that although the team system is in place he believes in practicing every fundamental every day.
Even though the team members know each other well, Homan said they are still adjusting to changes as such in court positions.
For the moment, the coach said he and the team are optimistic about their Old Oregon League chances.
“It’s refreshing to be back in the gym again,” he said. “I think I’m as excited as I’ve ever been since I started coaching in 2001. I’m looking forward to this season as much as any. We don’t know what the future holds, but we’re excited to see where we go.”