Korey Landolt takes reins of Clackamas girls' program
Clackamas girls' basketball coach Korey Landolt took a knee in front of the Cavaliers' bench as her team moved into defensive position.
The Cavaliers had a comfortable lead early in the second half of last week's spring scrimmage with West Linn, but were playing as if the game was riding on each possession.
When West Linn's next shot missed the mark, Ciara James grabbed the rebound for Clackamas and the ball barely touched the floor as it went to Bri Phiakhamngon on the left wing, over to Alyson Miura on the right wing, then down low to Kalani Hayes near the basket, then back outside to Ellyonna Bankofier for a wide-open three-pointer.
Bankofier nailed the shot, drawing applause from Landolt as she stood and made her way back to her seat on the bench alongside assistants Keven Berry and Mike Reiner.
"They're fun to watch," Landolt said. "We definitely have high expectations. We missed a couple of execution plays tonight that should have been easy buckets. But to put it in perspective, we were up 20 at the time, so ..."
When Todd Lane resigned in March after six seasons, Clackamas could have gone in a number of different directions to find a replacement.
Instead of going outside the program, the Cavaliers promoted from within, elevating Landolt as they look to maintain some continuity in a program that rose to No. 3 in last season's final OSAA Class 6A power rankings.
Landolt, formerly Korey Beeler, is a 1999 graduate of Clackamas High School. She was a four-year starter for the Cavaliers and went on to play college ball at Chemeketa Community College in Salem and Concordia University in Portland before rejoining the Cavaliers' program in 2003.
She took a break from coaching from 2011 to 2013, but has been through virtually every up and down that every player on the current Clackamas roster has been through, which has not gone unnoticed during the early stages of the transition process.
"Things aren't too different, just because we've always had Korey around," said Hayes, the sophomore guard/post. "It definitely is different having her run the show, but it's good go have something that was already here, because it kind of feels like home already and it's not a big adjustment, so I'm really liking that."
Said Miura: "We're kind of just starting fresh, I would say. We're using some stuff we did last season, but kind of building off something new. Korey is doing a great job, and we're all really excited to have her."
Landolt said the feeling is mutual.
"Any time that you come into a program with kids that love to play and love being in the gym, it sure makes my job easier, that's for sure," she said. "Knowing what they've been through has been kind of nice as well, because I know where I can tweak, where I need to focus to start over, and where we can build on what we had before.
"It feels real nice not to have to start from scratch. I know some coaches who have gotten jobs around the state where they're coming in fresh and brand new. This is my 13th year teaching here and I live in the community, and that familiarity and comfort have allowed us to just get going, which I think is helpful with what we want to try to accomplish."
Clackamas returns nine players from last season's Mt. Hood Conference championship team that finished 25-3 after losing to league rival Oregon City in the Class 6A quarterfinals – a bittersweet ending for a team that is a threat to go all the way next season.
"We've been kind of the 'young pups with potential' the last couple of year," Landolt said. "Now that our young pups aren't young pups any more, they're ready to go.
"I've talked to them about how they have more experience than most teams in the state now. They can't be babies any more. They've got to grow up and play like experienced players, and I think we're ready to do that."
So, what's different now that Landolt is calling the shots?
"I think our attitude is definitely something that we've been working on," Landolt said. "We seem to have a renewed attitude about what our goals are for the summer and what we're trying to accomplish in the short term to prepare us for November.
"My style is a little more up-tempo. Not that Todd ever discouraged them from running, but we're going to take what we can get. That's what I've harped on since May 30 is we need to be up-tempo and we need to get easy buckets, because so much of our offense will open up if we can get teams tired and all of a sudden they're huffin' and puffin'.
"We haven't completely abandoned the old play book. There is stuff that the players know from Todd's time as head coach that we're building on, tweaking, and reworking into our new stuff. But, definitely, the biggest change we're making is with the speed of the game."
Clackamas is entered in this week's End of the Trail River City Classic girls' basketball tournament, featuring many of the top big-school programs from Oregon, Washington and Idaho.
The Cavaliers are in the Ruby Bracket and open tournament play against the Monroe Bearcats from Monroe, Washington in a 6:15 p.m. game at Clackamas High School.
The tournament runs through Sunday when an overall champion will be crowned in a 2:15 p.m. game at Oregon City High School.
After the tournament, the Cavaliers will travel to a weeklong team camp at Western Oregon University in Monmouth -- a camp that Landolt hopes will help lay the foundation for her program moving forward.
"The players know me, but they know me as their assistant coach, so we've got to establish a new relationship," she said. "And with Kevin and Mike returning as assistants, we have some familiar faces in different roles now, so the players have to get used to how we play off of each other, too.
"I think everybody knows the potential of this group and it's just a matter of keeping our goals in mind and getting to where we want to