Photo by Sverre Bakke
Columbia High Girls Varsity: The Bruins in 2017-18 are (front,l-r) Samantha Tardiff, Kathirin Hylton, Tate Panko,Heidi Pulido; (back) Carlee Trullinger, Gracie Vaughan, Natalie Humphrey, Yazmin Nunez, Angelie Sampson, and Bailey Gimlin.
As of Wednesday, January 10, 2018
Columbia High’s girls basketball team went 3-4 in December games under second-year Bruins Coach Don Struck and began the new year with a 1A Trico League defeat by Castle Rock on Jan. 3 to fall to 3-5 with 11 games remaining on its 2017-18 schedule.
Nine of those games will be league games; the other two will be make-up dates of postponed December games, against non-league opponents Three Rivers (here Jan. 26) and Goldendale (there Feb. 3). All told, the Bruins will play 19 games this season.
The Bruins played well in their Trico opener at Castle Rock, in a game that wasn’t decided until the fourth quarter. They led the Rockets by 11 points midway through the third quarter before giving up the lead in the fourth, regaining it at 41-40, and eventually losing, 47-43.
Struck said the Bruins had been looking forward to the start of league play, to begin the process of measuring their game against those of their five Trico counterparts. He said CHS anticipates stiff competition for defending league champion La Center, as well as from an improved Stevenson squad, but the Bruins should be in the mix for the Trico’s three district playoff berths.
Said Struck, “We fully ex-pect to compete for a district playoff berth” through the end of Trico League play on Feb. 1. The make-up of Col-umbia’s league schedule just might work to its advantage in its drive for the post-season.
The Bruins play their first five Trico games on the road. That means they’ll finish with five consecutive home games between Jan. 19 and the first of February.
This year’s team is led by its three returning seniors, Kathirin Hylton (5-9 F), Samantha Tardiff (5-5 G), and Heidi Pulido (5-6 F). Struck is blending their talents with those of a large group of juniors who cut their basketball teeth at the varsity level last year, a pair of jayvee veterans, and a transfer student.
Gracie Vaughan (5-6 G), Carlee Trullinger (5-3 G), Bailey Gimlin (5-5 G), Yazmin Nunez (5-5 PG), and Angelie Sampson (5-5 G) return to reprise their 2016-17 roles. Making the transition from jayvee to varsity this year are juniors Tate Panko (5-6 G) and Isobel Bradbury (5-6 F). New to the program is transfer student Natalie Humph-rey, a 5-11 junior forward who could be a game-changer.
“Our returning juniors really got much-needed experience last year, which really put us on an aggressive early-season practice schedule, as we hit the ground running,” Struck said. (Five Bruins went right from the end of volleyball in early November to the start of basketball practice on Nov. 20.)
He added, “Implementing an up-tempo style of play should pay off” in early Trico League contests.
All in all, Struck said, he is pleased with the Bruins’ pro-gress through eight games, and anticipates further individual and team improvements the rest of the way, in the build-up to district play.
“We have 11 players who are interchangeable on any given night, so depth and experience should serve us well,” he noted. “If we can stay healthy and the weather cooperates, we will be successful.”