Contributed photo/Linda Studtmann
Contributed photo/Linda Studtmann
The 1A Ukiah/Long Creek Mountain Lions junior varsity boys basketball team is 11 strong this season.
With one game behind them, the Mountain Lions are ready for more action.
“I like the team,” said senior Rafael Gumerato, an exchange student from Brazil. “We have good players, and even the newer players are improving fast and learning the game quick.”
Gumerato is the sole senior on the team. He and one of the other five exchange students on the team have experience with the sport.
The three returning players, all sophomores, are James Kreamier, Quinton Orr and Ben Combs. There are also two freshmen with experience.
Kreamier said the players are still figuring out how to read each other in the game, but he’s encouraged.
“You can pass it to any of the players, and they’re not too scared to shoot,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to playing more games, getting more chemistry and winning.”
The team is led by co-coaches Amos Studtmann and TC Conner. This is Studtmann’s second year coaching and Conner’s 11th.
Ukiah/Long Creek had its first test of the season on Dec. 2, when the team lost a 45-40 contest to Mitchell/Spray on the road in Mitchell.
“I believe the kids know they didn’t play to their potential,” Studtmann said. “They’re going to play in the future with more confidence on offense and energy on defense. We have several good shooters, quick defenders and a lot of dedication to practice.”
Kreamier scored 17 points in the game.
Studtmann said Kreamier and Combs are team captains and are showing leadership on the team, as well as Gumerato.
“Thomas Kreamier, a freshman, made a really good show in our first game as well, and we’re looking for a lot from him,” the coach added.
Preparing for the games, Studtmann said they’re focusing on basic skills — “All the fundamentals, every day we’re shooting, dribbling, rebounding, passing and working on stance and footwork.”
He said they’re working to build not only skill development, but also basketball IQ.
“The boys understand that it’s not always about right now, it’s sometimes about the end of the season and next year,” Studtmann said. “We’re beginning with the end in mind.”
This season, the team will face junior varsity teams from Harper, Prairie City, Burnt River, Crane, Pilot Rock, Four Rivers and Adrian. They’ll also face Huntington’s varsity team for a total of 20 games.
“I’m happy to see more games than we’ve had in the past,” Studtmann said. “It’s good to test our skills against other teams, and the games are really what the kids are practicing for. The more games they get the more reward for their effort.”
Ukiah/Long Creek boys basketball schedule
Dec. 15: @ Harper Tournament at 7:30 p.m. (MT)
Dec. 16: @ Harper Tournament, TBD
Jan. 2: vs. Prairie City in Ukiah at 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 5: vs. Burnt River in Long Creek at 6:30 p.m.
Jan. 6: vs. Crane in Long Creek at 3:30 p.m.
Jan. 9: vs. Mitchell/Spray in Long Creek at 6:30 p.m.
Jan. 11: @ Pilot Rock at 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 13: @ Huntington at 3:30 p.m.
Jan. 16: @ Monument/Dayville in Dayville at 6:30 p.m.
Jan. 19: vs. Harper in Long Creek at 4:30 p.m.
Jan. 20: @ Four Rivers in Ontario at 3:30 p.m. (MT)
Jan. 23: vs. Pilot Rock in Ukiah at 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 26: vs. Adrian in Ukiah at 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 27: @ Burnt River at 3:30 p.m.
Feb. 2: @ Prairie City at 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 3: vs. Monument/Dayville in Long Creek at 3:30 p.m.
Feb. 9: @ Crane at 3:30 p.m.