There's no Marla Olstedt or Ashley Mayfield, but the Seaside girls basketball program always seems to come up with the athletes, and head coach Mike Jacobson always turns them into winners. Somehow, some way, they just get the job done.
The tradition carries on this year. Just without a high-scoring guard.
"It's going to be a lot different team," said Jacobson, who coached the Gulls to a Cowapa League championship last year. "We're not going to be looking for one person to do a lot of the scoring, like we did with Marla two years ago and Ashley last year."
Heading into the 2009-10 season, "I think we have nine or 10 kids who we can play, and we're not going to drop off that much from the first five."
Translation: the Gulls are going to be good, again.
"Yamhill's going to be tough, because they have most of their players back," Jacobson said of the Tigers, who went 1-2 in the state tournament last year. "Astoria only lost one (Bug Coggins), so they're going to be tough. You have Jordan (Thoreson) and Kayce (Lilley), and I'm sure Kelsie Houghtaling is going to get a lot more time on varsity, and so will Olivia (Israel). Plus they're coming off a good volleyball season, and that always carries over."
Alex Iwaniw has replaced Brian Wright as the new coach at Tillamook, which returns sophomore point guard Cheyenne Hahn, while "Banks has all those sophomores, and they're good," Jacobson said. "But I think Yamhill is above everybody. After that it will be a pretty even league. We should definitely finish in the top three, I would hope. That's a very realistic goal."
"We're going to be more athletic," Jacobson said. "Overall we'll have more girls who can handle the ball. Our one true post player on varsity is Cali (Riser, Sr.), and she came off the bench last year. We're not as big, but we are more athletic."
The point guard spot will be run "by committee," he said. "Anna (Toyas, Sr.) can do it, and Riley (Tadei, Jr.) has improved her ball-handling a lot. We're looking for Steph Villegas (Jr.) to step up and do some, and Ashtyn Routh is another junior who we're hoping can give us some time. We have three or four girls who can bring the ball up."
Adding depth up front will be senior Sarah LaCoste, while a talented junior class includes Kalee Coker, Kai Davidson, Linsey Johnson, Sophie LaCoste, Miranda Olson and Celeste Scougal.
Sizewise, "I guess they're all about the same - 5-7 or 5-8," Jacobson said. "Which is good. They're physical, so I think we'll be able to press a lot more this year. We could press a few teams last year and be successful, but I think we'll be able to press a lot more full court this year."
The Gulls will have to fill the void left by Mayfield, the school's all-time leading scorer.
"Riley is a good 3-point shooter when she's on," Jacobson said. "Anna and Ashtyn can both hit the three ... we're going to be a lot more balanced in scoring. I don't think we'll have someone average 17 or 18 points a game like we've had the past three years."
"Our goal is to do well in league and get to the state playoffs, which I think we can," said Jacobson, whose team lost a heartbreaker to Philomath in last year's state playoffs.
In the Cowapa League, Yamhill-Carlton was the team to beat last year as well, but the Tigers tend to falter in league play late in the season, both in volleyball and basketball.
So when in doubt, pick Seaside. The defending league champs are still the team to beat in the Cowapa.
Prediction: League champions.
SEASIDE GIRLS BASKETBALL
Coach: Mike Jacobson, 5th year
2008-09: 16-7 (8-2 Cowapa League)
Playoffs: Lost state playoff to Philomath (39-37)
All-League Losses: Ashley Mayfield (League MVP); Becca Lent, 2nd team; Megan Potter, 2nd team
All-League Returners: Sarah LaCoste, HM