Skyline League play promises to be competitive again, at least for four Douglas County schools.
Days Creek is the defending Skyline League champion and is the top prospect again this season.
North Douglas coach Jeff Davis said, “the path for the title goes through Days Creek.”
North Douglas, Camas Valley and Elkton are all returning a lot of talent and aiming for a spot in the postseason.
Riddle joins 1A play this season in the Skyline League, after dropping down from 2A, to make things more interesting.
Here are things to look for in 1A girls basketball this season:
Days Creek’s girls basketball team will start their season against Bandon at 6 p.m. on Wednesday and will head to the Days Creek Invite on Saturday.
The Wolves had a successful season last year and were ranked sixth in the preseason coaches poll by OSAAToday. They won the Skyline League title and finished fifth in the 2017-18 OSAA 1A State Championship in Baker City.
Matt Crume, who was last year’s conference coach of the season, will be at the helm of the program for a third season.
Moriah Michaels, who was selected Skyline League player of the year, will return for her junior season. The 5-8 Michaels was also selected to the Skyline League all-defensive team.
Second team selection 5-8 Kyla Crume will also be returning, as will honorable mention 5-9 Joleen Crume. Kyla Crume is the team captain this season and one of two seniors on the roster, 5-11 Lori Jackson is the other senior.
Days Creek was the lone 1A girls team to make it to the final site in Baker City last season.
North Douglas received 24 votes in the preseason coaches poll, but fell just outside the top 10.
“Right now (our goal) it’s to get better every day,” Davis said. “They’re a great bunch of girls, the attitudes are super and the energy in the gym has been outstanding. I couldn’t have asked for anything better.”
The Warriors fell just short of the playoffs last year, but will return a bevy of Skyline League selections including first-team selections Riley Black and Abby Whipple, second team returner Nicki Derrick and honorable mention Sofia Alcantar. Black was also selected to the all-defensive team.
Derrick has not yet been cleared to play basketball and Rilie Jo Olds will also miss some of the preseason due to injury.
“We’re relatively inexperiences because of some significant injuries,” Davis said. “Our young kids will have to step in.”
Some of those young kids include sophomore Natalie Thompson as well as freshmen Samantha MacDowell, Cydni Dill and Sofie Dooley. The full roster has 11 players for the Warriors.
“We consider ourselves a positionless team,” Davis said. “All of us can play lots of spots, and we’re fast.”
The Warriors will play four tournaments before league play starts Jan. 4, and only one preseason game not part of a tournament, a Dec. 18 game at Oakland.
“Our preseason is pretty good,” Davis said. “The opponents we face are going to make us better. Sometimes you learn more from a tough loss than a 35 point win. We appreciate the schedule. By league time we’re going to be very competitive.”
Camas Valley, which finished second in the Skyline League, fell to Nixyaawii in the second round of the state playoffs.
The Hornets will return Joy DeRoss, a Skyline League second-team selection, and Brooklyn Wolfe, who made the all-defensive team.
DeRoss and Wolfe are both sophomores.
Camas Valley also has three seniors on the roster: Natasha Hibdon, Catheryn Casteel and Shelby Payne. Hibdon and junior Alissa Vradenburg are the team captains.
Elkton will host the Elkton Tip-Off Classic on Friday and Saturday, where they’ll host Willamette Valley Christian and Monroe.
Elkton finished third in the Skyline League and made it to round one of the playoffs before falling to Hosanna Christian.
The Elks’ roster will include last season’s first-team selection Kieryn Carnes, and honorable mention Alexis Halstead.
There are no seniors on the varsity roster for Elkton this season.
Riddle dropped from the 2A Mountain View Conference to the 1A Skyline League this season and will start the season at Milo Adventist.
Katarina Schartner received a 2A Mountain View Conference honorable mention last season. The 5-3 junior will return to play for the Irish this season.
The Irish’s roster consists of six freshmen, two juniors and two seniors. The team will have a new head coach this year in Darci Shivers, who will be taking over from Rocky Rodgers.
Shivers was the assistant coach last season.
Yoncalla’s Nicolas Edera will enter his second season as head coach of the Yoncalla girls basketball program.
The Eagles’ roster includes last year’s second team Skyline League selection Shaunasi Hardy.
Umpqua Valley Christian graduated one senior from last season and will have three seniors on this year’s roster, including team captains Sareigh Bendele and Liz Jarvis.
The team also boosts four freshmen, three sophomores and one junior.
The private school from Days Creek will play an independent schedule.
The Mustangs open the season by hosting Riddle at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.
The Pirates do not have a basketball team this season.