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Men’s and Women’s Basketball Preview

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Freshmen captain Ashley Bierer passes around the perimeter in one of many offensive practice drills.

Freshmen captain Ashley Bierer passes around the perimeter in one of many offensive practice drills.

Nathan Oberg

Nathan Oberg

Freshmen captain Ashley Bierer passes around the perimeter in one of many offensive practice drills.

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MEN’S

EvCC Men’s basketball looks to rebound this season after their streaky 2016-17 tenure came to a bitter end with an NWAC Tourney play-in game loss to Whatcom by a score of 87-84.

Despite the sizzling 4-0 start, Coach Trautman’s boys struggled to find consistency over the course of the season, eventually needing to win the last 3 games of the season to earn a play-in game opportunity. “My top 6 or 7 (players) had to play way too many minutes towards the end of the year; we were flat,” Trautman said.

The incoming recruiting class is highlighted by extreme athleticism that extends past the starting lineup including Freshman Jesse Keltner. Keltner is a 6’6” power-forward, recruited specifically to replace the loss of Dartavious Young, stud-rebounder who was top-10 in the NWAC in rebounds per game last year.

Also returning to the squad is sophomore guard Gio Jackson who averaged 12 points a game last season. “(He) is definitely one of our team leaders. He’s capable of scoring a ton night in and night out,” said Coach Trautman. “But when he is floor-general first and a scorer second, we are more successful as a team,” said Coach Trautman.

Trautman and his staff have lofty goals for this year’s squad, but nothing comes easy in league play.

“I don’t care for getting a bunch of wins against crappy teams,” Trautman said. “I want to win the difficult league games. Those are the games that build a team up over the course of the season.”

WOMEN’S

Lady Trojans basketball embarks on their redemption tour November 17th against non-league foe Mt. Hood Community College as they look to put the injuries and inconsistencies of last year’s season in the rear-view mirror.

The 2016-17 campaign began with a crash and thud at 1-7 before the Trojans received a much-needed boost from their newly-eligible, do-it-all forward and team leader Uju Chibuogwu. “Uju wasn’t eligible for the first 5 or 6 games. When she came back we really started to gel as a team,”  said veteran head coach Chet Hovde.

Uju’s 18 points and 10 rebounds a game helped the Lady Trojans catch fire as they finished the season tied for 2nd in the North where a tie-breaker would seal their fate against the number one seeded Lower Columbia.

The disappointment of falling short has long since left the court as the Trojans are now re-supplied with a bevy of talented players.

“This is one of the best backcourts I’ve seen or coached in a long time. We are very fast and very athletic.” Hovde said. The speedy bunch includes freshman Guard Nakiya Edwards, an all-state honorable mention at LaConner High School last season, sophomore  Aloha Salem, a Hawaii native and Centralia College stand-out who shot an astonishing 44% from behind the arc with the Trailblazers and freshman captain and Stanwood stand-out Ashley Bierer.

Freshman 6-foot center Sydney Taggart also added her name to the talent pool with a solid rebounding performance in the team’s scrimmage against Wenatchee Valley College on the 28th. “I thought we had a good team going into this season, but this really confirmed to me how athletic and talented this team really is.” Coach Hovde stated after watching his team tune-up for the regular season.

Despite last year’s difficulties, the overall strength of the Lady Trojans squad has left them with a high-ceiling for success.

“I definitely think we’re gonna make it further than last year. We are quicker and more physical defensively… We want to get off to a fast start this year  that way we don’t have to make a late push.” Uju confidently put. Coach Chet added, “We’re going to finish better than last year… I’m gunning for a number one seed.”

 

By Nathan Oberg, Staff Writer

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Men’s and Women’s Basketball Preview