Returning starters Kyla Emerson, Faythe Schafer, Danielle Rhoda and Denali Twehues will lead on the court for the Monument/Dayville girls basketball team this season.
Taylor Schmadeka returns for his third year as head coach for the Tiger girls, assisted by Kristi Emerson.
Schmadeka said he’s pleased with the overall atmosphere of the team.
“They’re friends on and off the court,” he said. “They’ve all played volleyball together, except one, so they know each other.”
The team lost three players to graduation last season, Kendall Hettinga, Ravyn Walker and Dinorha Vidrio Landin.
Stepping into the senior role this year are Rhoda, Aubrey Werner and Cassy Buckmaster, who is a transfer student at Dayville school.
Five juniors, three sophomores and one freshman round out the team.
In their Nov. 15 practice in Dayville, the Lady Tigers were going full-steam ahead.
“In drills, they go at 100 percent, game speed,” the coach said.
The Tigers have no small ambitions.
“Our goal is to win districts and go on to state,” Schmadeka said.
He said they have a goal of improving their overall speed — “moving up and down the court, passing, shooting, just the overall tempo of the game.”
“I always push them to go as fast as they can or faster,” he added.
Two players he expects will be quick on their feet on the court and push hard are Kyla Emerson and Schafer. Both were state contenders in track and field last school year.
The Tigers will need all the strength their team can offer for this year’s competition. In the 1A-8 High Desert League, they’ll face Adrian, Jordan Valley, Prairie City, Crane, Harper, Huntington and Burnt River.
Last year, Monument/Dayville lost to the Prairie City Panthers in the first round at the district tournament, then beat Harper in the consolation game.
Schmadeka expects the Panthers to be strong again this season.
“I think Prairie City will be a tough team,” he said. “They’ll do well with a lot of confidence from last year.”
He said Adrian, Crane and Jordan Valley are “always good,” and he expects the competition they pose to be no different this season.
Rhoda is taking on the role of team captain this year.
“She has a tremendous basketball knowledge,” Schmadeka said. “She’s become a leader in practice. In close games, it’s good to have leaders like her on the floor.”
Rhoda, who’s played basketball since sixth grade and is in her third year with Monument/Dayville, said she’s excited to have some new players join the team this year.
“We all get along really well, so it’s like playing with family, which makes it fun,” she said.
Buckmaster is one of the new athletes on the team. She played on teams from sixth through eighth grade. She said she feels honored to be a part of the team.
“I feel like it’s an awesome opportunity my senior year, because these girls are outstanding,” she said. “It’s just really cool in a small community, because everyone is so close.”
Monument/Dayville Tigers girls schedule
Dec. 1: @ Condon/Wheeler at Paul Humphreys Tip-Off Tourney in Fossil at 6 p.m.
Dec. 2: @ Pilot Rock at Paul Humphreys Tip-Off Tourney in Fossil at 11 a.m.
Dec. 8: @ Wallowa at the Lions Tournament in Wallowa at 6 p.m.
Dec. 9: @ La Grande junior varsity at the Lions Tournament in Wallowa at 1 p.m.
Dec. 12: @ South Wasco County in Maupin at 4 p.m.
Dec. 21-23: @ Union Holiday Classic in Union
Dec. 29: Tigers host alumni game in Monument at 5 p.m.
Jan. 5: @ Crane at 6 p.m.
Jan. 6: @ Prairie City at 2 p.m.
Jan. 12: vs. Burnt River in Monument at 6 p.m.
Jan. 13: @ Four Rivers in Ontario at 1 p.m.
Jan. 16: vs. Ukiah/Long Creek junior varsity in Dayville at 5 p.m.
Jan. 19: vs. Adrian in Monument at 6 p.m.
Jan. 20: @ Jordan Valley at 2 p.m. (MST)
Jan 26: vs. Huntington in Dayville at 6 p.m.
Jan. 27: vs. Crane in Monument at 2 p.m.
Feb. 2: @ Harper at 6 p.m. (MST)
Feb. 3: @ Ukiah/Long Creek junior varsity in Long Creek at 2 p.m.
Feb. 9: vs. Prairie City in Dayville (senior recognition) at 6 p.m.
Feb. 10: @ Burnt River in Unity at 2 p.m.
Feb. 15: @ 1A-8 High Desert District Tournament in John Day