The Lady Cougars are starting off their season with a roster of 17 hard-working dedicated players who their coach, high school principal David Howe, believes have the skill and talent to compete with anyone. In their practice drills, they demonstrate speed and athleticism, in passing, running, and dribbling. Ball-handling is something that Howe stresses.
“The Junior returners from last year came in better than what I thought they would be,” Howe said. “They’ve all worked really hard.”
He emphasized that the two returning post players, Jamie Johnston and Shanna Rae Tillery, bring lots of hard court skill to the floor. “Shanna Rae and Jamie are fast, and they anticipate well. They think the game. Jamie has natural ability.” Howe expects both Lady Cougars to have a dynamite year.
“We are going to be taller than most,” Howe said. “Our team creates mismatches because Jamie and Shanna Rae can dribble and they can handle the ball. They are not like some post players that are best when they just stand under the basket and shoot.”
Howe also expects great plays from his guards, Kyla Hook and Ella Moeller. “Kyla is confident and can run the show, but Ella has really stepped up this year. She’s one of those players who is always encouraging everyone. Bailey Hafer has worked very hard in practice. She’ll be a really positive influence, too.”
Howe expects it to be a challenging year in a very competitive league. “It’s a tough league,” he said. “Everybody better come with their game every night.”
Wallowa’s first game against the 2A division cross-county rival Enterprise Outlaws proved Howe’s prediction true. It’s a tough league. The Outlaws stole the show, with better shooting and a very vigorous defense that denied Wallowa baskets at every opportunity. Although Wallowa worked hard to close the gap near the end of the game, the Outlaws prevailed, 39-28.