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Tigers enjoying new era

Girls basketball team is taking new head coach Luke Lindell's system and philosophy


The Newberg High School girls basketball team certainly has been busy this summer, which has been just fine with the players and new head coach Luke Lindell.

Coming straight off a three-day tournament June 20-22, the Tigers played six games in four days last week before taking the weekend offby: SETH GORDON - Nose for the ball - Newberg sophomore Savanna Milroy fights for a loose ball during a  summer league basketball game June 25 at St. Paul High School.

By the time Newberg wraps up the summer season with a tournament July 18-19 at George Fox University, the varsity group will have played in the neighborhood of 30 games.

The Tigers have been putting all that court time to good use, learning Lindell’s philosophy and how to implement it on the court.

“It’s a change for these kids just because of a new system and new terminology and all of that, but also just a different vision for how we want to run things,” Lindell said. “The kids have done a really job of being able to pick up things on the fly and we’ve gotten a lot better. You can see it in the play on the court. It’s significantly better than it was and that’s really encouraging.”

For their part, the players are just happy to be back on the court together and are buying in to the system.

“It’s been really good,” junior guard Sabrina Salmons said. “I think our team is enjoying it.”

Perhaps the biggest change for the players has been to practice and really learn how to play more than one position on the court.

“He kind of wants us to play all around, so it’s hard for people to make that transition,” senior center Tori Eicthen said. “But I think we’re getting there.”

Changing one’s mindset in such a way is harder than it may sound, but Lindell said he has been pleased with the energy and attitude of the players.

“You have to be able to do multiple things on a basketball floor and getting kids to really expand their minds like that, it’s a change of thinking for them,” he said. “We’re starting to see them not think so much and play. The more we play together and the more that message is pushed into them, I think it just opens up their whole game. It’s a freedom that they enjoy and I think they’ll thrive in it.”

Having been hired just before the end of the school year, Lindell did not have enough time to schedule a full compliment of 5A and 6A opponents, so the Tigers have played against a mixture of small and large schools.

On June 25, the Tigers took on a 1A all-team coached by former St. Paul head coach Mike Murphy, against whom Lindell coached for many years at rival Perrydale.

In those games, he doesn’t concern himself much with the score, just as he isn’t very focused on the team’s record overall this summer, rather with their form.

“We’re getting used to playing with one another and in the system,” Lindell said. “When we have everybody there, I expect us to be really competitive going into next basketball season.”

Newberg will have just two seniors this winter, so the year’s team will represent a changing of the guard to some degree, although juniors like Salmons and Christina Bryan and sophomores like Taylor Rarick and Natalie Peterson gained valuable varsity experience last season.

Most of the group, including the handful of players that will get their first crack at varsity playing time this winter, have been playing together for years and are excited to see what they can do with their chance on the big stage. “It’s going to be a good group,” Salmons said. “I’m way more than excited for the normal season to start.”




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  • 20 Dec 2014

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  • 21 Dec 2014

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