After a season that was high on enthusiasm and even higher on hope, the Sandy girls basketball team struggled all season and missed the playoffs for the second consecutive year.
'The kids set some high goals and I let them because I thought it was possible,' Sandy girls head coach Renee Aschoff said. 'It was one of those things that if the magic had happened, it would have been great.'
Unfortunately for Aschoff, that didn't happen.
Sandy started the season losing 11 straight, scoring over 40 points only three times. The Pioneers scored their first victory with a 61-26 victory over Milwaukie, one week before opening Mount Hood Conference league play.
'We were more competitive at times, but still lacked the killer instinct to finish teams off,' Aschoff said. 'I think we have a couple of girls that can take that role, they just nee to be more consistent in their play.'
Sandy improved in every category this season, but still was topped by their opponents in each one.
Sandy connected on 186 of 355 free throws (.523), 294 of 833 field goals (.352) and 63 of 271 3-pointers (.232).
Junior Sarah Sturges led the Pioneers in free-throws made, 3-pointers made, steals and assists as well as averaged 9.75 points per game. Dalton Meade led the Pioneers with 103 rebounds (4.29 per game).
Sturges was named Pioneer most valuable player and Meade was named most improved by the coaching staff for the season.
Throughout the season, even though Sandy was under-sized and out matched, the Pioneers battled all season and never quit playing hard.
'If that is the one success we get from this year, they had an opportunity to throw in the towel and they never did,' Aschoff said. 'The girls were battling and playing hard even when our season was technically over.'
Aschoff said that the improved play of Rachel Lesowski, Dalton Meade, Nicole Smith, Lynsey Bender, Siara and Savannah Leininger gives the Pioneers a basis for the future. Thrown in MVP Sturges and Aschoff sees a bright future for Sandy basketball.
'I am excited because the continued improved play of those girls gives us something to build upon,' Aschoff said. 'Next year is the year that these kids start winning the games that we have been losing.'