Cheyenne Perkins is taking the reins as the Dayville/Monument Tiger girls basketball head coach this year, working with new assistant coach Heather Near.
Perkins played high school basketball and played for Trinity Bible College in North Dakota. She coached junior high basketball last year and was a Tiger varsity volleyball assistant coach from 2016-18.
She’s taking over where former head basketball coach Taylor Schmadeka, who is now a Grant Union Prospector boys assistant coach, left off.
Perkins said it’s rewarding to help youth learn to enjoy the sport, and she hopes to build the program.
“I love basketball in general, so I love teaching it,” she said.
The team lost three valuable players to graduation, including Faythe Schafer, Kyla Emerson and Courtney Nichols.
This year’s seniors are returning starters Aubrey Bowlus, Denali Twehues and Miranda Cook.
The team of eight includes one junior, three sophomores and one freshman.
“We’re going to be in very good shape, because we don’t have very many girls,” Perkins said.
She said Twehues will bring versatility to the team as both a point guard and post player.
“We have strong posts in Aubrey Bowlus and Miranda Cook as well,” the coach said.
She said the team has four tall players, and some speed, adding Twehues and Bowlus are team leaders.
“I’m feeling confident that our players can fill the shoes and can step up,” Perkins said.
The Tigers will face nine opponents in the 1A High Desert League: Crane, Prairie City, Adrian, Jordan Valley, Ukiah/Long Creek, Huntington, Harper, Burnt River and Four Rivers.
“We have a strong league, especially Crane and Jordan Valley, but I’m excited to see how the girls step up, including the younger girls,” Perkins said.
Two goals she’s working toward are unifying the girls from the two schools and improving their mental toughness.
“I want to focus on the mental game, because we practice the physical game,” she said, adding the team also needs to work on “attitude, how you react, mental health, keeping your cool, playing with your teammates and not getting frustrated.”
The coach said she’ll look to the seniors to motivate and guide the team.
Near added that the seniors are good role models.
“The girls respect them,” she said. “The seniors will be a big part of their success.”
Bowlus said she’s looking forward to her senior year in basketball and rolling with the changes.
“We’re a completely new team,” she said. “We’re all playing different positions, plus we have a new coach.”
Bowlus and Twehues said they’ve been playing basketball together since fifth grade.
“We have a lot of new starters this year,” Twehues said. “I do think we have a lot of potential. We’re going to be working out some kinks in the first couple tournaments.”
She added, “Defensively we have (sophomores) Aubreianna Osborne and Katie Barker. Everyone has improved a lot from last year. It’s exciting to see how we play together with the new starters and new coaches.”
Bowlus said they’ll be the ones their teammates will look up to, because they’re seniors.
“We just have to influence the younger players to make it about your personal successes,” she said.
Cook added, “We have to show them that they have to keep their spirits up.”
Twehues said they’ll be working on a lot of drills, including fundamental skills to increase their confidence, and focusing on the small successes in the game.
Perkins said, because they are somewhat young and inexperienced, they’ll be looking at, “not only at who wins on the scoreboard, but little wins in the game itself — offensive rebounds, not as many turnovers, keeping the opponent to fewer points.”
“I want us to have fun, because if you can’t enjoy what you’re doing, then you’re not going to succeed,” she said.
Perkins said “togetherness” is especially important.
“I feel there are some underclassmen that will also have to be strong leaders,” she said. “All the girls are going to have to step up tremendously.”
At the end of November, the girls held a “Teams-giving” event with pizza, pie and time together setting goals. They’re also planning a Secret Santa team gift exchange.
Perkins said their early games will be a learning experience, highlighting areas of their game to improve.
“I’m excited to see how the girls play together,” she said. “It’s a new dynamic this year, and I’m fully confident in them.”
Dayville/Monument Tiger girls basketball schedule
Dec. 12: vs. Condon/Wheeler in Monument, 6 p.m.
Dec. 13-14: @ Arlington Tournament, TBD
Dec. 19-21: @ Union Tournament, TBD
Dec. 27: vs. Alumni in Monument, 5 p.m.
Jan. 10: vs. Four Rivers in Dayville, 5 p.m.
Jan. 14: @ Sherman in Moro, 4 p.m.
Jan. 17: @ Prairie City, 6 p.m.
Jan. 18: @ Harper, 2 p.m.
Jan. 23: vs. Sherman in Dayville, 4 p.m.
Jan. 24: @ Ukiah/Long Creek in Long Creek, 5 p.m.
Jan. 25: vs. Huntington in Monument, 2 p.m.
Jan. 31: vs. Crane in Monument, 5 p.m.
Feb. 1: vs. Adrian in Dayville, 2 p.m.
Feb. 7: @ Four Rivers in Ontario, 5 p.m.
Feb. 8: vs. Prairie City in Dayville, 2 p.m.
Feb. 14: @ Jordan Valley, 1 p.m.
Feb. 20-22: HDL District Tournament in John Day, TBD
Feb. 25: State playoff, first round, TBD
Feb. 28: State playoff, second round, TBD
March 4-7: OSAA State Championship Tournament in Baker City, TBD