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By Jaryd Cline
Sports 

Older Wolves look to run and gun this season

 

Jaryd Cline

Goldendale head coach Mike Plum meets with his team before Monday's practice in the Goldendale High School gym.

After struggling the last couple years on the hardwood, third year Goldendale girls head basketball coach Mike Plum thinks this is the year his team will take the next step and start competing with some of the league's top teams.

The young Timberwolves struggled with inexperience the previous few seasons and finished last season at 2-18 overall while going winless in South Central Athletic Conference play at 0-12.

However, the core of last year's team returns to the court this season a year older and a year wiser.

"It's kind of nice having a group of girls coming back that have been in the system for three years, starting the third year with them," Plum said before his team's practice on Monday in the Goldendale High School gym.

"We've actually got to the point in the year where our youth has caught up," he added, "and I'm really excited about the years to come too."

Six of the eight members of the varsity team return from last year's team, including senior Ocean Bryan, who led the Wolves in scoring and will provide a big boost to the Wolves on and off the court.

"Ocean Bryan ... with her coming back as a senior leader is going to be huge," Plum said.

Bryan was the lone Timberwolf to earn all-league status last year, picking up second-team honors in the SCAC West.

Along with Bryan, the Timberwolves consist of two more seniors, three juniors and one sophomore and freshman.

Bryan and the rest of the Timberwolves open the season on Saturday at 6 p.m. at Mabton, a Class 2B school that Plum is excited to match up against. Not just because it's the first game of the season, but because he wants to test out his new offensive philosophy and style and how it compares to some the quick teams in the Yakima Valley.

"I'm extremely excited about how fast we're going to be able to run," Plum said. "We haven't had that first game or second game to see where we're at. To see if we're going to be able to compete with the valley teams or not, as far as speed.

Plum is implementing a new up-tempo style offense that capitalizes on fast breaks and getting easy transition buckets. Mabton, Plum said, will be a great test to see where the Timberwolves stack up.

The Vikings, an old SCAC West foe, who later shifted to the SCAC East before dropping to the 2B level, play the same style as many of the teams the Wolves will face in league play this season.

Jaryd Cline

Junior Allison Gilliam calls a play during Monday's practice in the Goldendale High School gym.

"That's going to be a test," Plum said. "They're extremely short and quick and that's where the game has gone these days. It's not go down and ground and pound anymore. It's who can get up the court and get the ball in the bucket faster, and Mabton really shows that."

The Vikings are coming off back-to-back trips to the Class 2B state tournament and placed third at last year's championships at the Spokane Arena.

After the Wolves face the Vikings, they head back to Goldendale for their home opener, a 6 p.m. matchup on Tuesday against Stevensen in the Goldendale High School gym.

 

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