Jordan Sammons is far from the only newcomer to Bandon’s girls basketball team.
The Tigers’ first-year head coach has a roster that includes a few freshmen and a few other players who haven’t been on a basketball team for several years, including two who started the season opener.
Sisters Nikki and Kylie Lakey, a junior and sophomore, respectively, both returned to the sport this year, as did junior Brittni England.
“I was proud of their effort,” Sammons said after Bandon’s first game, a 47-13 loss to Coquille.
The Lakey sisters were both in the starting lineup, along with freshman Kennedy Turner and two veterans from last year’s squad — sophomores Ashley Strain and Naomi Martin.
Bandon would have had another veteran in the starting lineup last week, but junior Kortney Ferreri had her appendix removed right before the start of the season. She should be back in a few weeks.
Understandably with a cast of newcomers and a season opener against a veteran squad that is one of the best in Class 3A, the Tigers didn’t fare well against Coquille.
Bandon didn’t score in the first half. But Sammons wasn’t concerned about that.
“We talked at halftime about coming out, working hard, not giving up and just working to get better,” he said.
And the Tigers did.
Bandon never really got much scoring, with Kylie Lakey scoring four points to lead the way. But the Tigers did rebound better after getting killed on the boards the first half.
“That’s one thing we’ve been stressing,” Sammons said. “We don’t have a lot of size.”
The first game helped the Tigers understand what the coaches had been talking about in practice, Sammons said.
“That game gets their feet wet,” he said. “Now they’re ready to step up.”
Bandon did show improvement in its second game, a 31-25 loss to Riddle on Friday night.
The Tigers only scored two points in the first quarter, but outscored the Irish 8-5 in the second and kept the game relatively close the rest of the way.
Turner and Kylie Lakey had eight points each. Strain scored five and Nikki Lakey four.
“We’ve just got to hit some shots and limit the turnovers,” Sammons said, adding that he was proud of the team’s effort and how hard the Tigers played.
On Tuesday, Bandon fell to Pacific 37-26. Nikki Lakey led the Tigers with 10 points.
Sammons was happy with the team’s opening week.
“We have made huge strides from the first game until now,” he said. “The girls all work hard and play from tip-off until the final buzzer every game. There is no quit in them.
“We had a couple of close losses that could have turned out different if a few shots fell.”
Sammons said he is enjoying his first season as head coach.
“This is my first time coaching varsity basketball,” he said.
Sammons arrived in August and also was an assistant coach for the football team.
“I’m having fun,” he said.
The Tigers have three games next week, against Days Creek on Tuesday and Oakridge on Friday at home and at Rogue River on Saturday. Then the Tigers host the Bandon Dunes Holiday Invitational on Dec. 19 and 20.