VHS Winter Sports Preview

Girls Basketball- Lady Logger head coach Steve Whiteman heads into this season with another line-up loaded with talent, varsity experience and depth. The  Lady Loggers are two time 2A Northwest League Champions, and are looking to three-peat this year after going 41-8 over the last two years.  “This team is of that same caliber,” says Whiteman about this year’s squad.

VHSWinterSportsGirlsBasketballPreview-webReturning seniors Julia Fletcher and Meghan Sullivan will anchor the line-up, with Sullivan playing regularly in the post.  Fletcher is a powerful player and will be one of the first choice offensive weapons.  Both were All-League players last season.  Whiteman says he expects to see Sullivan become more active in the offense this year.  “She is going to be hard to stop this year,” says Whiteman.  Another senior, Makayla Adams is assisting coach Whiteman as part of her senior project and is acting as manager, statistician, player and coach.

Returning juniors Paige Smith and Sara Smith will both play important roles in this year’s team.  Paige will be a  key player in the post.  Sara, who Whiteman says is the most improved player from last year,  can play just about any position and has seen time in practice as the back-up point guard as well as in the post.  “Sara will make a huge difference this year,” says Whiteman.  Another  junior,  Jocie Roberts, saw some varsity action last year and brings a deadly outside shot to the offense.

Exchange student Marketa Veselkova from the Czech Republic is expected to play as the starting point guard and also has a great outside shot.  “She is one of the fastest players I’ve ever seen,” says Whiteman.  Maria Alverez from Spain and Lisa Paje-Rius from Monaco are also both good players who will also see playing time in the back court on the varsity.  Whiteman says to watch for Paje-Rius on the fast break.

Sophomore Peyton Wolf should see some time for the varsity at all the guard positions, including point guard.  Another sophomore, six-footer Megan Ely, has really improved her game in the off season, according to Whiteman, and is projected to be a power in the post and grow into a very good player.

“We have a really good combination of players,” says Whiteman.  “It’s a really complete team with a lot of maturity and basketball IQ.”

“Our inside game is going to be really good,” says Whiteman,  with Sullivan, Ely, Paige Smith and Sara Smith rotating through the two post positions.  Offensively, expect to see the bulk of the points coming from Fletcher, Roberts, Veselkova and Sullivan.

Whiteman made a point to mention the help he is receiving from assistant coaches Jim Krahn and Teresa Williams.  Whiteman says Williams, who coaches the junior varsity, is a great technical coach who has done a great job teaching fundamentals to the younger players in the program.  Krahn brings a lot of enthusiasm, experience and knowledge and an extra set of eyes in practice.

The make up of the Northwest League has changed slightly with City Christian joining the league and Portland Christian and Riverdale moving up to 3A.  Whiteman says he expects competition from Faith Bible in league play.  A tough non-league schedule early in the season will provide some challenges with match ups against top level 1A teams Country Christian and Damascus Christian.  The Lady Loggers will also face seven 3A teams in non-league play, as well as a grudge match on December 16 against Santiam, who knocked the Lady Loggers out of the state playoffs last season.

The Lady Loggers will co-host the Vernonia Tournament, along with the Loggers Boys on December 5 and 6, featuring match-ups against Catlin Gabel, Jewell, and Colton.  The varsity girls are scheduled to play at 3:00 PM and 4:45 PM on Friday, and 9:30 AM and 1:30 PM on Saturday.

The Lady Loggers begin Northwest League play on January 6.

 

Boys Basketball- Head coach David Weller is back for his fourth year with the Loggers.  Weller will again bring a young and inexperienced team onto the court, but says he still expects the Loggers to be competitive in the 2A Northwest League.

VHSWintersportsPreviewBoysBasketball-webAfter missing the league playoffs last year by one game, Weller, along with assistant coach Matt Blair  and JV coach  Byron Schorzman,  is looking to improve this season.  “I believe we can make the playoffs this season,” says  Weller.  “The way the league is shaping up  it looks like it really could be up for grabs.  We definitely have the potential to be competitive in this league. ”

Weller says he is working to develop team leadership and maturity within his young squad.  With a very talented core group of sophomores, Weller is looking to instill confidence and hopefully see some of those younger players step forward into leadership roles.

Seniors Zi_xian Chen, Drew Cheney, and Logan Titus really don’t have a lot of varsity experience but should contribute to the team this year.

According to coach Weller,  junior Jared Medearis has really improved during the off season, both physically and in his skill level and will also push for playing time.

The sophomore class is led by Brett Elliot, who is the only returning varsity starter from last season and should be one of the go-to players on offense this year.  Tristan Adams has a good outside shot and will get a chance to earn more varsity playing time this season.  Luke McCallum is continuing to grow physically and at 6’ 3” will definitely see significant varsity playing time this season.  Weller said McCallum did a lot of off season work to improve his game.

Exchange student Guilherme (Will) Botelho from Portugal has earned a varsity roster spot and looks like he could be a starter in the post.  At 6’ 3” and 200 pounds he brings some size to the front court and according to Weller,  has good vision and court sense and is a natural leader.  Another exchange student,  Russian Nikita Moskalev also made the varsity roster and has good shooting ability. He may be a good role player for Weller’s squad.

The wild card on this year’s team may be freshman Clay Sullivan, who shows a lot of potential, excellent basketball knowledge and a natural understanding of the game, and good shooting range.  Weller says he could be an impact player at the varsity level in his first year playing high school ball.

Weller says he has a well balanced team that could see scoring from any number of players.  “It could be a different guy any night of the week for us,” says Weller. “It will be hard for opposing teams to just key on one guy because we have a number of players who can score.”

Weller says Knappa looks to be the team to beat this year in the Northwest League.  He says  his young squad could struggle early in the season and says there will probably be a lot of close games, but he expects the team to be in the thick of the playoff race down the stretch.

With a long non-league schedule early in the season, Weller has some time to work with his young squad and build towards the start of league play on January 6.  The Loggers will co-host the Vernonia Tournament, along with the Lady Loggers girls on December 5 and 6, featuring match-ups against Catlin Gabel, Jewell, and Colton.  The varsity boys  are scheduled to play at 6:30 PM and 8:15 PM on Friday, and 11:00 AM and 3:00 PM on Saturday.

 

Wrestling- Head coach Chris Barnes lost several key participants from last year’s squad and will bring a very young and green group to the mat this season.

Even so, Barnes has worked hard to recruit eighteen students to the squad at the beginning of practice and is looking forward to working with, teaching  and developing the squad.

VHSWinterWrestlingPreview-web“We have a lot of excited wrestlers with good attitudes,” says Barnes.

Barnes has twelve freshmen out for the team, which he says is exciting because he will have a chance to mold and teach them.  “It’s reminiscent of the Class of 2012, which by the time they were seniors, were a bunch of wrecking machines,” said Barnes.

Barnes says he will continue to allow students who are interested to join the squad up until January.  “Wrestling is a very welcoming sport and we have a very ‘family type’ atmosphere,” says Barnes.  “If you show up and try your best you will earn the respect of your teammates.”

Another good thing about wrestling, says Barnes, is that everyone gets to participate.  “Our athletes never sit on the bench; you get to participate at every event we attend, no matter what your experience or skill level.”

With only five returning athletes and none of the four state qualifiers  from last season on the squad, Barnes says this season he will have his team focusing on the District Tournament at the end of the season and use early season matches and tournaments as learning experiences and  to build momentum.

Barnes says the team will focus on fundamentals, conditioning and strength training in  practices.

“People think wrestling takes a certain kind of athlete, but I’m pretty open to working with anybody,” says Barnes.  “You give me any kid, even a supposedly  ‘non-athlete,’ and in three years I’ll give you back a wrestler.”

Returning wrestlers are seniors Jeffrey Goodman, Andrew Jennings, and Daniel Rice, junior Jake Harbour, and sophomore Justin Fletcher.  Barnes says these five will be the team leaders and that he expects all to be in the running to place at the District Tournament.

Barnes says  the team is well stocked in the lower and middle weight classes from 103 up to 160 pounds.  He also has a legitimate 220 pounder in Russian exchange student Niklas Merzadah, who Barnes says is very athletic.

Barnes does not have a paid assistant coach position this season, but says he appreciates volunteer coaches Scott Rethwill and Tim Jennings who have been helping out.

“I just want kids to come in and

 

learn how to believe in themselves,” says Barnes.  “I don’t expect anybody to be a champion, I just expect them to be  wrestler.  I tell the kids, ‘I don’t care if you win or lose as long as you give it your all.’  My goal with this program is for someone to come back in ten years and say, ‘Coach, I am a better person because I was in that wrestling room with you.’”