Girls basketball: North Marion looks to duplicate last year's success
Coach: Trevor Bodine (2nd year)
2016 season: 20-7 overall, 7-3 Oregon West Conference, 6th place 4A Tournament
Key losses: Emily Scanlan, Bethany Dron, Sonia Jimenez, Kyia Brooks
Key returners: Ally Umbenhower, Hannah Kinniburgh, Mar Verastegui, Lindy Wing
Outlook: What's left to do after finishing the 2016-17 season with 20 wins and the best placement for the girls basketball program in more than 30 years? Bring it all back and do it again.
Second-year head coach Trevor Bodine returns after inheriting a talented roster in 2016 and turning it into one of the scrappiest, defensive-minded teams in the 4A Classification last year.
At his disposal is nearly the full arsenal the Huskies unleashed last year. Senior all-state guard Ally Umbenhower returns to guide the offense, along with all-league guard teammate Mar Verastegui. Together, they give the Huskies one of the most capable and experienced backcourts in conference, able to stretch the floor, handle the ball interchangeably and challenge opposing teams on the perimeter.
The frontcourt packs even more experience, with all-league forward Hannah Kinniburgh and post Lindy Wing roaming the paint. The senior duo gives the Huskies a solid inside-out combination, with Kinniburgh able to stretch the defense with her 3-point shot and Wing doing the dirty work in the paint by challenging shots and scooping up loose balls.
Of course there will be some challenges for North Marion this year. The Huskies lost their top three contributors off the bench to graduation, leaving Bodine to rely on sophomore forward Katie Ensign and junior post Paige Martin to fill in larger roles as the primary reserves.
Junior post Raymee Boese also saw late-season action and could see time in a larger role off the bench this season. All three stand at 5-10 or above, giving North Marion one of the tallest benches in the conference.
But the biggest loss was that of all-conference forward Emily Scanlan, who transferred to nearby Wilsonville High School over the summer. A defense-minded athlete, Scanlan possessed the length and motor to challenge every position on the floor and gave Bodine a versatile player with which to press opposing teams.
Fortunately, the Huskies will be able to replace most of her production with freshman Mya Hammack, who joins the program after a successful summer league stint. A versatile athlete, Hammack is coming off a strong high school debut along with Verastegui as a first team selection with the league champion girls soccer team and should be able to fill in Scanlan's shoes as the team's primary wing defender.
Standing in North Marion's way is the three-time conference champion Cascade Cougars, who return all but two players from last year's championship favorite. That team was upset in the quarterfinals after an injury to three-time Conference Player of the Year Halle Wright, but still managed to defeat the Huskies in the consolation finals for fourth place.
Wright returns for her senior season, and the Cougars will serve as a measuring stick for the Huskies to match up against in the regular season. Regardless of whether North Marion is able to depose Cascade atop the Oregon West, the Huskies are poised to make another deep playoff run this season and improve upon last year's success.