Contributed photo/Linda Studtmann
Contributed photo/Linda Studtmann
The 1A Ukiah/Long Creek Mountain Lion junior varsity girls basketball team is small but showing strength as the team gains experience.
Returning members on the team of seven are juniors Gladys Johnson and Tesla Crown.
“They give us some leadership for our small team,” said coach Amos Studtmann.
Studtmann, in his second year coaching the team, is co-coach with TC Conner, who is in his 11th year coaching.
Johnson’s younger sister Dortha, a freshman, has junior high basketball experience.
“Dortha is setting an example for all the kids with effort, energy and dedication,” Studtmann said, adding their other freshman player Jenny Kim also brings experience.
The coach said the three exchange students on the team, all juniors, have no previous basketball experience, but are picking up the game quickly.
Gladys said she’s enjoying getting to know her teammates better.
“I’m looking forward to playing more games and having more fun in the games,” she said.
Dortha said she’s been impressed at how hard her teammates work in practice. She said if she sees them down, she likes to pick them up.
“I help them back up, and they have more confidence,” she said, adding she likes to see them growing and showing more confidence.
“I’m excited about the season because I think we might be able to win the games because the girls talk to each other,” she said. “It helps that we played volleyball together.”
All the girls on the team except one played volleyball.
In their first basketball game of the season, on the road to Mitchell Saturday facing Mitchell/Spray, all Mountain Lion girls were in on the competition. Although the Mountain Lions lost, 34-13, coach Studtmann was happy with how they played.
“I was pleased to see quite a few blocks against a taller team,” Studtmann said. “Gladys is really good, and a good jumper, and her sister Dortha is quite a dribbler, so it gives us time on offense to set up openings.”
“The first game shows me that Gladys will do really well shutting down the post area, and Dortha can take the heat from pressure against the dribble,” he said.
Gladys Johnson went out with an injury in the second quarter.
Studtmann said often new players are afraid to push through, but the team carried on with just one experienced player and performed well.
His main goal is increasing confidence and growth as the newer players learn the fundamentals and an understanding of the game.
Studtmann said his biggest concern is injuries or fatigue knocking out his stronger players, but his biggest encouragement is his team is “not going down without a fight.”
“They’re not going to be intimidated by numbers, size or experience,” he said.
Ukiah/Long Creek girls basketball schedule
Dec. 15: @ Harper Tournament at 6 p.m. (MT)
Dec. 16: @ Harper Tournament, TBD
Jan. 2: vs. Prairie City in Ukiah at 4 p.m.
Jan. 5: vs. Burnt River in Long Creek at 5 p.m.
Jan. 6: vs. Crane in Long Creek at 2 p.m.
Jan. 9: vs. Mitchell/Spray in Long Creek at 5 p.m.
Jan. 11: @ Pilot Rock at 4 p.m.
Jan. 13: @ Huntington at 2 p.m.
Jan. 16: @ Monument/Dayville in Dayville at 5 p.m.
Jan. 19: vs. Harper in Long Creek at 3 p.m.
Jan. 20: @ Four Rivers in Ontario at 2 p.m. (MT)
Jan. 23: vs. Pilot Rock in Ukiah at 4 p.m.
Jan. 26: vs. Adrian in Ukiah at 4 p.m.
Jan. 27: @ Burnt River at 2 p.m.
Feb. 2: @ Prairie City at 6 p.m.
Feb. 3: vs. Monument/Dayville in Long Creek at 2 p.m.
Feb. 9: @ Crane at 2 p.m.