Girls basketball kicks season off with jamboree


Mike Bishop

Emi Bishop wins the tipoff for the Wildcats. Wilsonville got the victory in all three of their games in the jamboree on Wednesday night.

On Wednesday evening, the Wilsonville girls basketball team kicked off their 2019-2020 season.

From the outside looking in, some may call it a rebuilding year. After the glory of a state championship run was cut short by the rival La Salle Falcons in the semifinals, the Wildcats secured third place before losing five seniors, all of whom played a massive role in the group’s success. 

Lots of people would look at last season and declare it a once-in-a-decade sort of success, but the Wildcats know better. Wilsonville is returning two 5A first team all-state tournament players in juniors Sydney Burns and Emilia Bishop, and there’s an impressive roster behind them with the goal to continue last year’s legacy.

It all started Wednesday night as the Wildcats welcomed Sandy, St. Mary’s, and Crescent Valley in a four team jamboree. Both Varsity and JV participated, with each team playing the others in an eight minute game for a total of twenty four minutes, or three full quarters, of basketball. 

It’s early in the season, and the Wildcats won’t play their first game until next Wednesday at home against South Eugene, but there’s a lot to be learned from this jamboree. Junior Keira McNamee commented, “I think last night was eye opening, and a realization for some of us that the season has finally started.”

McNamee also reflected on the quality of play, saying, “It started off a little rocky but it came out to be something that we should be proud of.” 

The Wildcats won each of their three games, facing a variety of opponents. Crescent Valley was on fire from beyond the arc and knocked down five threes in the short period. St. Mary’s was aggressive, pressing full court at times and forcing the Wildcats to sharpen up passes.

Junior Emi Bishop recognizes that it’s still early, but that the jamboree was a valuable experience for the team. “There’s definitely some work to do before we’re going to be ready for the season, but I think we have a really good group of girls coming back. We’re just working on filling spots of those who graduated last year.” 

One big question that arises when losing so many seniors is whether their sports can be sufficiently filled. The girls basketball program at Wilsonville is full of talent, and the team feels confident that there are players who can step up. Wednesday’s jamboree is a great opportunity for this, said McNamee. “It’s a good experience for some of the girls who are playing different positions, or are playing with Varsity for the first time at that pace.”

It will be interesting to see how newcomers to the team fill the roles left behind by the senior class, and how far this team can ultimately go. For now, though, Bishop says the team is focused on growth, “We want to make sure that everyone who gets out on the court can feel welcome and grow their confidence with each game.”