Forest Grove girls looking to improve upon last year's sixth-place finish in conference

Having lost four seniors to graduation, Forest Grove girls basketball coach Dan Lumpkin admits that the early part of this season could be a bit bumpy, but he is excited about his team’s potential.

“It’s a growing process,” he said. “We’re pretty young, but I’ve seen a lot of good things out of this group. There’s still room to improve.”

The Lady Vikings return four contributors — including two starters — from last year’s team that finished sixth in the Pacific Conference.

Senior post Abby Jensen, an honorable mention all-conference pick last season, and junior point guard Hannah Swanson, a three-year varsity player, will be two of Forest Grove’s primary weapons, along with junior post Madi Andresen, who made the varsity team last year as a sophomore.

“Madi is a tough inside player, and she’s already started off really well,” Lumpkin said. “With her and Abby, together they work hard, are physical and can score inside, which is a good combination.”

Jensen led the team in rebounding last season despite being a bit undersized at 5-foot-9, and Andresen adds another capable scorer in the paint.

Swanson, meanwhile, has been the Lady Vikings’ primary ballhandler since earning a mid-season varsity call-up as a freshman. She will lead the offense this year, while junior Mary Hutchins provides a high-energy spark on the wing and fellow junior Amelia Anderson steps in as Forest Grove’s most dangerous three-point shooter.

One possible X-factor for Forest Grove will be 6-foot-3 junior post Kaitlyn Jamieson, who is working to become more physical on the low block.

“She has a lot of potential,” Lumpkin said. “I expect her to get a little more physical and adapt to the varsity level as the season goes on. She’s a little timid, but once she gets used to playing at that level, I think she will be a good player.”

Right now, the team’s goals are simple.

“Year in and year out, we expect to come out and compete with every team in the league,” Lumpkin said. “You always want to be in the top half of the league (standings), and I think this team is talented enough to do that.”

The Lady Vikings missed the state playoffs last year after losing a play-in game to Southridge, and the team is hoping to improve upon last season’s 12-13 record and sixth-place finish in the Pacific Conference.

Lumpkin is optimistic that, despite its relative youth, his team is capable of doing just that.

“So far things are looking pretty good,” he said. “This is a deep team — I think we’ll play nine or 10 girls every game.

“This group is very athletic and we have a lot of length, and I think we can use that to our advantage.”

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