The Colton Vikings girls basketball team finished the season third in the West Valley League, going 9-5 in league and 15-12 overall. With first-year coach Kyle Gilstad at the helm, the Vikings made the first round of the state playoffs for the first time since 2005.

A look at the season

“This year has been a success in a lot of different ways,” Coach Kyle Gilstad said. “Last year, the girls finished seventh out of eight teams in the West Valley League. This year, they finished third, got third in the league tournament, and earned a berth in the state tournament for the first time since 2005. We won 15 games and finished in the top 16 in the state.

Top performers

Senior Mikaela Shelton: “Mikaela was our best on ball defender and really showed her offensive capabilities the second half of the season,” Gilstad said. “Over the last 10 games, she averaged nine points, four rebounds, two assists, and five steals. Not only were her stats good, but she was one of the hardest workers day in and day out, and her competitiveness was contagious amongst her teammates. It will be hard to replace her senior leadership next year, but I'm sure someone will step up when the time comes.”

Sophomore Jessica Parker: “Jessica did a good job as the point guard for our team,” Gilstad said. “She did a lot of things on the floor for us. Not only did we rely on her to bring the ball up and set our offense, she was also our assist leader with four per game, was among the leading scorers, scoring in double figures eight times, averaged four and half rebounds and three steals per game. Jessica is one of those players that wants to be good and has the drive to make it happen. I expect big things from her next season.”

Sophomore Kailee White: “Kailee filled the role of our scorer this season,” Gilstad said. “She averaged 10.5 points per game; scoring more than 15 points, eight times. She also made 38 three-point shots on the season. Along with scoring, she did a good job on the defensive end as well, averaging almost three steals per game. I'm very excited to see her have a productive off season. If she chooses to, she could help fill the void left by Mikaela and be a big leader for us next year.”

Junior Madison Davis: “Madison was another player that did a lot for us this season,” Gilstad said. “She averaged seven points and eight rebounds making her the leading rebounder for our team. At times she would be a post, and when needed, she would be a guard. She's a very versatile player. She is also a very good defender and would be matched up with some of our opponents’ best players. If she works hard in the offseason, she could play a huge role for us next year as a senior.”

Junior Tavia Boll: “As the season went on, Tavia kept improving and had her best games at the end,” Gilstad said. “At Dayton, she had eight points and eight rebounds and helped anchor our defense in a big win to solidify our third-place ranking in league. At Central High School in our league championships, Tavia had her best game of the season. She finished with 16 points, 12 rebounds, and four steals; all team highs. Her performance in that game helped us finish third in the league tournament and send us to state for the first time since 2005. If she continues to work hard and improve over the offseason, next year could be big for her.”

Senior Paige Lindstrom: “Paige played an important role as one of the first players off the bench,” Gilstad said. “She was a good defender and as the season progressed, so did her confidence and her offensive capabilities. She led our team in scoring at Horizon Christian, a league opponent. She was also one of the hardest workers everyday at practice. Her tenacity and work ethic off the bench will be hard to replace next season.”

Thinking ahead

“We're losing four seniors this year but return a lot of young players that got a lot of good experience and are determined to make it further next year,”?Gilstad said. “Senior guard Mikaela Shelton, who was our best on ball defender, will be missed next year but the girls will work hard to fill the void. We also lose Paige Lindstrom, Joslyn Stansfield, and McKenna Gilstrap, but the work they put in this year helped build the foundation for this program moving forward.

“Next year we return two Junior starters: Madison Davis, who was one of our top performers all season, and Tavia Boll, who really started to peak at the end of the season ... As juniors, they played big rolls on the team and are expected to play even bigger rolls next season.

“We return sophomores: First team all league starter Kailee White, who was our leading scorer and one of the top steals getters on the team; And second team all league starter Jessica Parker, who was our point guard and led our team in assists and was high in scoring, steals, and rebounds as well. Both these girls are expected to have even better years next year and are hard workers that will push their teammates to get to where we need to be. We also return Caitlyn Weinburger, who saw a lot of varsity minutes before getting injured and missing the last month of the season, and Kyndra Ham, who had a very successful JV season and learned a lot from the varsity team as a swing player.

“We also return two freshman players: Tia Wheeler, who saw a lot of varsity minutes and is expected to make a big contribution next year, and Rachel McCoy, who injured her ACL early in the season but is expected to help fill the void left by Mikaela Shelton on the defensive end.

“Our JV team had a very successful year as well, and we expect players from the JV team to help fill the empty spots next year. Players to keep an eye on for next year are: Katlyn Baker, Megan Imdieke, Courtney Cox, and Haley McCoy. These players worked hard, had good attitudes, and care for their teammates.

“We move from the West Valley League to the Pac West League next season, and I see us finishing in the top of that league. Our goal is to not only make the state playoffs next year but to make it to the final eight tournament in Coos Bay. We have a group of girls that want to be good and are willing to put in the extra hours of work to help make that a reality. I'm very excited for the future.”

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