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The program has enough athletes to fill out a JV2 team for the first time in years.

COURTESY PHOTO: SARAH MANN - The Scappoose High School girls basketball team poses for a photo on team portrait day.Scappoose's girls basketball team has started the season with high turnout and a win against Aloha.

The program hasn't had enough players to field a JV2 team in at least six years — until this year.

The varsity team started the season with a 56-28 win against Aloha. The second game, against Sunset, ended with a 33-42 loss for Scappoose.

The team's starting lineup is all juniors, four of whom — Adison Stoddard, Dylan Mann, Sydney Liao and Jessica Nelson — have played together for years.

Maddie Swadley, the fifth starter, completes the package, coach Sarah Mann said.

Dylan Mann got 10 assists at the game against Aloha.

"She did a really good job of drawing the defense to her and getting the ball to her teammates," Sarah Mann said, and Jessica Nelson "benefited heavily from that."

Swadley "came out blazing in the second half," Sarah Mann said.

"We are way more focused, we have way better attitudes," Swadley said, comparing this season to the short season last school year. "We actually want to be there, and I think we have a really good mindset about this season."

"Everyone has improved a lot since that season," Swadley added. "The difference between that season and this season is drastic."

In Northwest Oregon Conference games, Scappoose went 3-5 in the 2020-21 season and 2-12 in the 2019-20 season.

Both Aloha and Sunset are 6A teams outside NWOC, so the two games won't count in Scappoose's league record for the season. The team's first league matchup isn't for another month: Scappoose will head to La Salle on Jan. 10.

With five sophomores, five juniors and just three seniors on the varsity roster, the team is young.

Swadley said that's one of the Indians' weaknesses.

"We're a really young team, and we're still developing our skills," she said.

After the first game of the season, Mann said she felt the players "took really good care of the basketball. Our turnovers were low … I think we made the right decisions most of the time in our possessions."

During the off-season, the players were more focused on improving offense.

"Back to work today, we want to make games primarily on the defensive end," Mann said.

"We're just working up to what our league is going to bring us," she added. "It's going to be a battle, and we're just trying to get battle ready. I think we're right where we need to be at this moment in time."

Coach Mann credits the Scappoose youth basketball program with training up athletes to join the high school team.

"There's been so much work that's gone into our youth program," Mann said.

The Scappoose Youth Basketball Association, led by Carl Maak, "has been amazing in feeding our high school program, and we're starting to see the fruits of that labor," she remarked.

Maak "has really moved that mile marker for our youth program," Mann added.

Despite the larger turnout, Swadley said the program feels closer-knit this season.

"It's awesome watching the freshmen mature and play well," Swadley said.

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