ST. PAUL, Ore. — If St. Paul girls basketball coach Dave Matlock is to be believed, the biggest keys to success for his girls' basketball team will be keeping the athletes healthy and clamping down on defense.
The first part is self-explanatory: Keeping the bodies of his varsity core healthy lets his team continue to refine the play that led to a first-place finish in the Casco League last year. St. Paul finished the spring season 8-2 overall, and 6-1 against league competition.
The Bucks also finished with the lowest points allowed in the Casco League among teams that played a minimum of 10 games, allowing just 281 points against the entirety of the season.
This year the team will be led by juniors Anabelle Davidson and Frankie Lear, a pair of players who have been to the state tournament in years past. Davidson is expected to operate the offense from the point guard position. Both Davidson and Lear are offensive threats, according to Matlock.
"Both are great shooters from the perimeter all the way to the 3-point line, and Anabelle will be our point guard because she has great ball handling skills and basket attack moves," Matlock said. "Frankie is a very effective scorer in driving to the basket, as her foot speed has improved this year."
Other players to key in on will be sophomores Stella and Gracie Koch, a pair of athletic multiposition players who will contribute to the offense and 6-1 freshman Audra Rose is expected to be a familiar face for the Bucks, who will use her in transition as well as a midrange shooter if the opportunity presents itself. Rounding out the bench for the Bucks varsity squad will be junior Abby Cavazos, and sophomores Sierra Stoltenberg, Meredith Coleman, and Addi Arnzen.
The teams expected to give St. Paul its toughest tests this season, according to Matlock, are Livingstone Adventist Academy, Perrydale, and Willamette Valley Christian. St. Paul also faces off against top 1A schools Damascus Christian, Southwest Christian and Mohawk in nonleague competition in the preseason.
St. Paul's first game of the season will be against North Clackamas Christian (0-1) at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 3.
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