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The Hawks, boasting key returnees, are off to a strong start in Lewis & Clark League play

The Horizon Christian High School girls basketball is back, and ready for action.

After playing at the junior varsity level a year ago, the Hawks are set to make some noise in the Lewis & Clark League this season.

"The Hawks return to the varsity level this year and are looking forward to building on a strong season last year," Horizon Christian coach Scott Olson said. "With no seniors last year, we have some youth now with experience. We're excited to have moved into the Lewis & Clark League this year."JAYCIE FORRESTER

Horizon Christian also looks to have a strong group of returnees from last year's squad. Among them are senior guard Alyssa Rose (5-foot-6) and senior forward Jaycie Forrester (5-10), who will serve as the team's captains this year.

"Alyssa Rose is our leading scorer and on-court leader," Olson said. "Jaycie Forrester is one of the best athletes in the league and an incredible defender."

Senior guard Callie Nashif (5-6) also returns for the Hawks.

"She is a strong shooter," Olson said.

Sophomore post Katie Graham (6-0) also is back.

"Katie Graham is a sophomore who is developing into a very good post player," Olson said.

Sophomore Alyssa Smith (5-8) is back at a guard spot.

"Alyssa Smith is a very good athlete, who is also our strongest defender," Olson said.

Other returnees for Horizon Christian include senior forward Grace Burgess (5-7), senior guard Meredith Van Allen (5-7) and sophomore forward Julia Cloud (5-4).

Among the newcomers to the Hawks' varsity roster are freshman guard Keslyn Peterson (5-6) ("a great shooter recovering from knee surgery," Olson said), freshman forward Hayes Johnson (5-8), senior forward Makenna Thompson (5-6), junior forward Josie Nelson (5-9), freshman guard Victoria Hernandez (5-1), freshman guard Allison Seger (5-6), freshman guard Minhee Yu (5-3) and freshman guard Debby Cotoc (5-5).

"Our strengths are our athleticism, which makes us solid on defense, and we are a strong rebounding team," Olson said. "Our lack of varsity experience is out biggest question mark."

As for their debut season in the Lewis & Clark League, the Hawks are looking at some strong competition ahead of them.

"The Lewis & Clark League looks to be very balanced top to bottom," Olson said. "I am not sure there is a clear favorite and Horizon should be in the mix for the league playoffs."

The Horizon Christian girls are off to a 1-1 start in Lewis & Clark League play after getting a 45-37 win at Oregon Episcopal on Dec. 17. On Dec. 19, the Hawks ran to a 62-39 win over Scio in a non-league game played at Horizon Christian, giving the team an overall record of 5-3.

The Hawks will be back in action on Jan. 3, when the play Blanchet Catholic in a first-round game at the Crusader Classic New Year's Invitational, being held at Salem Academy. The tournament runs through Jan. 5.

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