DAYVILLE - The combined boys basketball team from Monument-Dayville has a number of young kids among the 14 players listed on the roster. But in his 21st season as head coach, Skip Inscore has confidence the Tigers are going to do well in the 2002-2003 season.
Last year, Monument-Dayville finished third in the TriCo League with a 10-4 record, losing only to league champion Mitchell and runner-up Spray. The team was 15-8 overall. At the District 4-1A Tournament in Baker City, Monument-Dayville went 0-2, losing to Powder Valley 58-36 in the opening round before being eliminated by Mitchell, 69-47.
This year, the outlook is optimistic.
"We are going to be pretty inexperienced and young at a couple of positions, but we hope to be competitive," Inscore said. "When the league games begin after the Christmas break, we should be ready."
The Tigers return several experienced players to the starting lineup, including senior Travis Moore who was named a second-team TriCo League all-star last season, along with senior Dustin Jewell.
Other returning players include juniors Nathaniel Ashley and Doni Duncan, and sophomores Carl Peterson, Brad Woosley, Mani Martin and Cody Riggs.
"Doni is still out with a knee injury he sustained in football, and Mani has a foot injury he got playing football as well," Inscore said. "I had planned on using both of them as starting players, so we will have to fill their positions until we get them back."
Both Duncan and Martin are expected to be healed and ready to play by the time league games begin in January.
Other players with experience include senior Dane Smith who moved back into the Dayville School District, and sophomore Kyle Warren.
"Dane played with us when he was a sophomore and he played last year in Arizona," Inscore said. "Kyle was out for the team last year when he was a freshman, but he hurt his knee and was unable to play."
New faces on the roster include sophomore Nathan Rayburn and freshmen Guy Andersen, Joey Fristed and Gunner Crapser.
"We are not going to have the interior presence we had last year when Jeff Lippert was a senior, but I think we'll have a quicker team this season," said Inscore. "I think we are going to be able to get up and down the floor, and not rely so much on the half-court offense like we have in the past. Most of our height is in our younger kids, Brad (Woosley) and Kyle (Warren), and they are both sophomores. We are going to have to bring them along as the season progresses."
Inscore said he expected Spray to have a strong team once again this year.
"Spray lost just one player and he was a non-starter. After them, it should be a real battle for second place. Mitchell lost all five starters, but they have a lot of players coming back. They are like us with a lot of young players on the team. I think by the time league games start we should be right in there," Inscore said.
Monument-Dayville begins the season on Friday, Dec. 6, at the Wheeler Tournament in Fossil.