Girls are flocking to the Joseph Charter School girls high school basketball squad. Coach Lance Homan said he has 19 players out this year, even more than last year’s squad.
“We’ll have a busload between us and the boys,” Homan said with a laugh.
Homan has taken the ladies to state each of the three previous years he’s coached. With the way this squad looks, another trip is in the works. Four regular varsity players returned from last year’s squad as well as two that played both junior varsity and varsity. The team lost four seniors.
One plus is the addition of six freshmen. The numbers help the squad in various ways.
“It’s good to have numbers for sure, just practice-wise,” he said. “We can get the young kids more games and more experience. It’s going well.
League Competition will be much the same as last year, according to Homan.
“North Powder will be good as always and Wallowa will be good,” he said. “I think Nixyaawii will be good as well. Those are the top three, I think.”
Homan said that the team’s guards, including returning superstar, Sabrina Albee, are the team’s strength.
“We’re little, but we return two first-teamers (all-league) from last year,” Homan said. “Sabrina was second in the voting for all-state and Madelyn (Nelson) was also up in the voting along with Camille (Crenshaw); we have three starters returning, so that will be nice.” He added that Rylee Wilcox is a returning and talented senior.
Will any of the freshmen start? It’s too early to tell. Homan said the transition from junior high to high school is difficult, particularly the leap in the speed of the game.
“I won’t say no, but I don’t know,” Homan said.
Only three practices into the season, Homan said that it’s difficult to pick out a starting lineup, although the returning three starters are probably a lock at this point.
Homan had the squad play a little summer basketball, about 20 games, between the west-side, the coast, and some tournament play. He also experimented with different lineups at the time.
“I’m not exactly sure what that will look like yet,” he said. “Summer’s nice because there’s no pressure.” He added it was still too early to tell if there are any under-the-radar players with the possibility of becoming surprise stars this year.
Homan likes the way the team looks so far although he said in the first week it can be frustrating trying to piece everything together and as a coach, he’s always hoping for more.
“I’m extremely happy,” he said. “I’ve got great girls; we’ll find out what the chemistry’s going to be like, who’s going to step up for the available spots but it’s going good and I’m looking forward to what we’ll do for sure.”
As to what kind of team the fans can expect to see. Homan sees similarities between this squad and the squad of last year.
“What I see is a very athletic team,” he said. “I think their defense will shine, which will create a lot of offense. I’m hoping. It’ll be very similar to last year in that we’ll try to press and get easy baskets that way. A very athletic and quick team is what they’ll see.”