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In tumultuous 2021-2022 season the Cougars adapted to new coach and system to achieve team goal

When Ingrid McCoy took over the Canby head coaching role at the start of this past season, she was inheriting a team in the middle of a wildly unpredictable time.

After a spring season shortened by the COVID-19 pandemic that saw the Canby girls basketball team piece together a 5-12 record from mid-May through late-June, McCoy had her work cut out for her. The turn around from then until the end of the Cougars season on March 2 was noticeable and thanks in large part to the buy in from the players.

Canby put together a 12-12 record heading into its postseason clash with No. 2 seed Jesuit, achieving one of the team's goals in the process.

"I allowed the captains and the seniors to sit down together and create their goals for the season," McCoy said. "They didn't attain all of them, but one of them was to make the playoffs and the record wasn't as important to them as it was just to make sure that they made the playoffs, and they did that."

PMG FILE PHOTO: TANNER RUSS - Canbys girls basketball team battled the best in the state to earn a 12-12 regular season record heading into the playoffs.

The Cougars were ultimately defeated by Crusaders 47-31 on March 2 after four quarters of play. Jesuits knockdown shooting was the difference maker, according to McCoy, but the team got solid contributions from junior point guard Allison Mead, senior Kayley Borntrager, sophomore RayAnne Schedler and freshman Makayla Ford.

The competitive nature showed in the Jesuit game was something that defined large parts of the Cougars season. McCoy said that her team had a lot to handle this season with learning a new system, getting used to working with new coaches, and dealing with a rotating cast of players who stepped up when sicknesses and quarantines kept other players out of the lineups.

"We kind of started out slow, very basic and kind of built throughout the season and I was just really proud of their ability to learn, to adapt and then to execute down the stretch," McCoy said. Then just their willingness to compete every night. We had a couple of games where we had a little bit of a rough time and we still had kids that competed to the end, and I was really proud of them."

The teams strongest stretch of play was early on in the season when Canby ripped off six straight wins at the Interstate Shootout and the Holiday Classic. Another highlight stretch of play was when Canby won four-of-five games from February 1 through February 11.

There were also stretches that showed real room for improvement. Shortly after winning those aforementioned four-of-five games, the Cougars dropped four straight games. McCoy pointed to a large number of turnovers and not being able to slow down the teams opponents when they would go on runs. Improving in those areas going into next year will be one point of emphasis next year.

Heading into next year, the Cougars will be dropping down into the Northwest Oregon Conference at the 5A classification. Canby will join Centennial and Hood River Valley as debutantes in the conference, joining familiar faces Wilsonville, Putnam, La Salle Prep, Hillsboro, Milwaukie and Parkrose.

While there is a sense of sadness in dropping down from 6A classification, McCoy and her team are excited about the opportunity to face new competition next year.

"I think the kids are cautiously excited about it, you know, just not knowing what to expect," McCoy said. "We haven't played at these schools, we haven't seen these teams. They kind of talked about that a little bit. There's been some chatter about how weird that will be. As we kind of enter a new league and new schools and different competition.

"I think that our kids are going to thrive in the 5A and I think we're going to be extremely competitive moving forward because I think honestly, I told the kids, I think you're going to be competitive no matter where you land just because of the progress that you're making and where we're headed and what we have, the foundation that we've laid," McCoy continued.

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