News for those who live, work and play in the Santiam Canyon

Santiam girls 5-4, adjusting to new hoops rules

The Santiam High girls basketball squad takes a 5-4 record into the holiday break. The Wolverines are ranked No. 17 in Class 2A and three of their losses came against top 11 teams (No. 2 East Linn Christian, No. 7 Monroe and No. 11 Weston-McEwen).

“I think the most exciting thing about us is that each game we have someone new step up and we’ve had pretty balanced scoring for the most part,” second-year coach Hannah Thompson told The Canyon Weekly. 

Hannah Thompson
Hannah Thompson

“We are still learning how to play together and as the season progresses we will continue to improve in that regard.

“The biggest thing for us right now is being able to piece together a full four quarters and compete at the level we can for the whole game. There are so many moments of greatness but there are still some moments when we revert back to old habits rather than changing those. But the group of girls I have are extremely hardworking and eager to learn – it just takes time and repetitions.”

This year’s Santiam squad boasts not a single senior, with a versatile corps that continues to improve.

Junior Reese Longfellow has been contributing at both ends of the floor, Thompson said, with fellow junior Averie Peterson playing similar roles. Thompson praised junior Boston Flores for her “grit, intensity and competitiveness” and calls freshman Eva Sloan one of the team’s “most exciting” additions.

“She has been our 6th man (and our 5th starter in a few of our games) and has just been fantastic,” Thompson said. “She understands her role and has been solid on defense and contributing on the offensive end when needed.  I am really proud of her and her growth thus far.”

The Wolverines do not play again until Jan. 3 when they open the grueling 15-game Tri-River Conference season with a game at 6 p.m. at Willamina. 

The Santiam boys, who take a 5-2 record and the No. 16 ranking into their lone holiday break game, a Dec. 28 4 p.m. home contest against Spray/Mitchell/Wheeler/ also open the TRC season at Willamina in the second half of the doubleheader.

Both the boys and girls squads have been playing amid some fairly significant rules changes. A 35-second shot clock has been added and teams no longer shoot 1-and-1 free throws after seven fouls in a half. Each team gets five fouls per quarter and opponents shoot two free throws once the five foul limit has been reached.

“I personally enjoy having a shot clock and new free throw rule,” Thompson said.  “It is the same structure as college women’s basketball so it is what I am used to. I think it can be beneficial in close games because now rather than being able to hold the ball for however many minutes it requires your team to execute big shots in big moments, or get big stops defensively.

“It also requires players and coaches to adjust to the time and score more often, for example, utilizing the whole 35 seconds to get one shot and leave less time on the clock for your opponent.

“I think with the new foul rule it makes both fouls and free throws hold so much weight.  If your team gets to five fouls in one quarter, the other team gets opportunities to score two points every time you foul.  Emphasizing playing defense with your feet and not your hands, along with being aggressive on offense to make that work in your favor is important. Plus … making free throws.

“One negative impact of the shot clock is that in some games where the skill gap is very significant between two teams, that causes the better team to run up the score more because they have to shoot rather than holding the ball and utilizing the clock.  But overall I think it will make the game speed faster, and puts even more of an emphasis on coaching and players executing.”

 

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