The Vikings return a strong group from last year's playoff team and hope for continued success this season

NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: WADE EVANSON - Forest Grove's Olivia Grosse posts up during the Vikings' playoff game against Westview last season.Addition by subtraction. Not really.

Forest Grove lost a couple of decorated and key players from last year's team that finished third in the Greater Valley Conference and lost to Westview in the first round of the state playoffs. Gone are point guard McKenzie Long and wing Ashlie Collins, but while graduation took from the Vikings, time and a little offseason work delivered a post presence in the way of sophomore Olivia Grosse, and that — coupled with returning talent — has head coach Dan Lumpkin anxious for this year's hardwood campaign.

"I'm very excited for the season," said Lumpkin. "I expect we're going to be very competitive and compete for one of the top spots in our league."

Despite the loss of Long and Collins, the Vikings return three all-league players in point guard Katie Rebsom and wings Emily Huson and Kinsey Barnett. But Grosse's development will allow the veteran laden team an option they've lacked in recent years, and one Lumpkin is excited to see in action.

"Losing McKenzie and Ashlie is a pretty big hit, but Olivia is going to give us a legitimate post presence," said Lumpkin. "Our style won't change, but we're just going to be able to add the element of size and do some things on both ends of the floor that we haven't been able to do in the past. Olivia has really improved and is ready to be an impact player for us."

Rebsom, who was also a first-team all-league soccer player for the Viks, is exceptional on both ends of the floor and brings a hard-nosed attitude that can't help but be contagious to her teammates. Huson and Barnett are exceptional three-point shooters, and all will benefit from Grosse's ability to change the game inside by means of dump-and-kicks for open shots from the perimeter.

In addition to the starting unit, Lumpkin expects this year's squad to be deeper than lasts, having eight or nine players in the regular rotation, including sophomore guard Audrey Fasching, sophomore forward Kayleen Dominguez, sophomore guard Katie Ellington and freshman Amanda Rebsom.

Lumpkin believes that while still highly competitive, the GVC lacks the elite individual talent that made teams like South and West Salem tough to beat a year ago, allowing for a deeper, more open race at the top, opening the door for the Vikings to think big.

"There are still a number of good teams," Lumpkin said. "But while South and West Salem are still good, South Salem lost three starters and the best player in the state, West Salem lost a great player in Delaney Henery, and us and McMinnville bring a lot of people back, so it should be very competitive and fun to watch."

Forest Grove starts its season Nov. 29 with a home game against Glencoe.

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