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New expectations

Surrounded by an inexperienced roster, senior Sierra Smith is taking on a new role in the Ranger game plan

Coming off of a third-place finish in the Tri-Valley League last season, the Estacada girls basketball team is flush with new faces. One of the old faces, however, finds herself in a new situation.

Standing 5-feet-9, senior Sierra Smith is best described as an extremely versatile athlete. In the past, the Rangers were built around strong post play from other players, and Smith was content as a point guard who thrived on outside shooting.

With no real size on this year's roster, however, that strong post play is expected to come from Smith.

'(My coach) just told me I'm the one, and this year they're asking me to score a lot,' she said. 'But it's a big change being one of just two returning varsity players.'

Along with junior Madison Haga, Smith is fully entrenched in the role of team leader whether she's ready for it or not.

Part of that role is helping the entire team adjust to interim coach Jon Erickson's style of play.

'We have to play completely different, with different plays and different defensive plans,' she said.

While the fact that Smith is being asked to play down low this season hints at just how small the Rangers are this season. The fact that Smith is the tallest full-time varsity player explains it all.

Along with Smith are a host of guards who will need to learn from Smith in order to grasp the Rangers' plans for the season.

'I need to speak up and be a leader to help my teammates through,' she said. 'Coach told me I may even need to be a little bossy as if I am a coach.'

Fortunately for Smith, the idea of being a coach is appealing.

After this season, she plans on attending Portland Community College unless the opportunity presents itself to play basketball elsewhere at the college level. As part of her time studying, she hopes to enter the world of coaching, even if it's just at the elementary school level.

Those plans, however, are far from her mind at the moment, as she and her teammates have their sights set on success in league play.

'It's a very tough league,' she said. 'We need to get some wins and be confident while going in with the mindset of playing to win.'

The Rangers next game is at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 21, at Estacada High School.