The Dayville/Monument Tiger girls basketball team stepped onto the Wheeler High School court Friday to begin what they hope will be a strong season.

If their victories at the Paul Humphreys Memorial Tournament over the Arlington Honkers, 34-23, and Condon/Wheeler Knights, 38-25, are any indication, the Tigers could be on their way to fulfilling their goals.

Head coach Taylor Schmadeka, in his fourth year leading the team, said his No. 1 goal for the girls is to give a “perfect effort” — and he’s confident about advancing to the post season.

“Always play 100 percent every game, no matter what the score is,” he said.

He said his five starters are the main returners and are showing a lot of enthusiasm.

“They have an attitude of wanting to compete and win,” he said.

The team lost one talented senior, Danielle Rhoda, to graduation last season, but the remainder of the team returned.

Three seniors are returning starters, with two junior returning starters, plus two sophomores. Three athletic freshmen have also joined the ranks.

Schmadeka has Kristi Emerson back as assistant coach, and Cheyenne Perkins is also joining as assistant coach this year.

Dayville/Monument ended last season with a loss to the Adrian Antelopes early on at the High Desert District 8 1A Tournament, following up with a win over the Harper Hornets in the consolation round. Now seniors, Faythe Schafer and Kyla Emerson each scored 7 points in the game with Adrian, and Courtney Nichols was also in the action.

Schafer said she’s eager to use their last season as a springboard, and she’s looking forward to developing the team chemistry with their newer members.

“I’m excited to see where the season takes us,” she said. “We have a lot of speed, and that will be a good challenge for the other teams.”

Kyla Emerson, who has played basketball since fourth grade, said it’s the intensity of the game and time on the court that draws her to the sport. She said she appreciates the opportunity to spend her final season with the other girls and the coaches.

“We have a strong team, and our bench is good,” she said.

Nichols said she’s looking to improve her shot. She’s developed a good relationship with the team and enjoys working with the younger players, she said.

“I think our freshmen are going to be super strong this year,” she said. “They’re learning quickly.”

Schmadeka said the three freshmen are showing potential. He noted freshman Aubreianna Osborne is strong, and each freshman is showing different strengths in their abilities.

“The biggest thing will be court time and getting a feel for the speed of the game,” he said.

He said point guard Schafer will be driving the ball to the basket and commanding the floor more.

He expects Emerson and Nichols to take on attacking the rim, as well as playing aggressive defense.

“Aubrey Bowlus (a junior) is stepping up as a post and getting a lot of rebounds for us this year,” he said.

Overall, he said, the teams’ greatest asset is their quick tempo.

“They’re working really well together, and we’re going to utilize our speed this year,” he said. “I believe we have a good chance to get to the state playoffs and compete there.”

Dayville/Monument Tiger girls schedule

Dec. 7-8: @ Arlington Tournament, 3 p.m., 12 p.m.

Dec. 14-15: Tiger Tourney in Dayville (vs. Mitchell/Spray and Grant Union junior varsity), 6 p.m., 4:30 p.m.

Dec. 20-22: Union Christmas Classic, TBD

Dec. 28: Alumni games in Dayville, 5 p.m.

Jan. 4: @ Long Creek/Ukiah in Long Creek, 6 p.m.

Jan. 5: @ Harper, 3 p.m.

Jan. 8: vs. Burnt River in Dayville, 5 p.m.

Jan. 11: vs. Crane in Dayville, 5 p.m.

Jan. 12: vs. Prairie City in Monument, 2 p.m.

Jan. 18: @ Burnt River in Unity, 6 p.m.

Jan. 19: vs. Four Rivers in Monument, 2 p.m.

Jan. 22: @ Grant Union JV in John Day, 5 p.m.

Jan. 25: @ Adrian, 5 p.m.

Jan. 26: vs. Jordan Valley in Dayville, 4 p.m.

Feb. 1: @ Huntington, 6 p.m.

Feb. 2: @ Crane, 4 p.m.

Feb. 5: @ Prairie City, 5 p.m.

Feb. 8: vs. Harper in Monument, 5 p.m.

Feb. 9: vs. Long Creek/Ukiah in Monument (senior recognition), 2 p.m.

Feb. 14-16: District Tournament in John Day, TBD

Feb. 19: First round state playoffs

Feb: 22: Second round state playoffs

Angel Carpenter is a reporter for the Blue Mountain Eagle. She can be contacted at angel@bmeagle.com or 541-575-0710.

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