BANDON — Coquille’s girls basketball team has thrived with speed and strong wing play for several seasons. This year, the Red Devils plan to play big as well with a trio of talented posts.
Morgan Baird, who had a strong freshman campaign last winter, scored 10 points and added 11 rebounds and five blocks as the Red Devils beat host Bandon 47-13 in the season opener Wednesday.
Fellow sophomore Mia Ruiz had eight points and eight rebounds and junior Haley Van Pelt added eight points for Coquille in the win.
“I was happy with how we got it inside,” Coquille coach Tim GeDeros said. “Our young posts were posting up and playing hard.”
Meanwhile, the Red Devils showed their speed outside to force the young Tigers into 21 turnovers in the first half.
“It helps having both strong posts and strong wings,” said senior McKenna Wilson, who also scored 10 points for the Red Devils.
The game was never in doubt. Bandon didn’t score in the first two quarters as Coquille built a 24-0 lead, mostly behind the scoring of Baird and Wilson.
Bandon finally got on the board in the third quarter with a basket by freshman Kennedy Turner and Kylie Lakey led the Tigers with four points.
New Bandon coach Joran Sammons said he was proud of his team, though, especially given its youth and inexperience.
The Tigers return just three varsity players, and one of them, Kortney Ferreri, will be out several weeks after having her appendix taken out over the weekend, Sammons said.
Three of the Tigers’ top players — Brittni England and sisters Kylie and Nikki Lakey — haven’t played for a number of years. Meanwhile, Turner and Bella Erenfeld are freshmen and only sophomores Naomi Martin, Ashley Strain and Allison Hennick among those in the lineup Wednesday saw varsity time last season.
“I was really proud of their effort,” Sammons said. “We talked at halftime about coming out, working hard, not giving up and just working to get better.”
The game came with a lot of teachable moments as the players adjusted to going against another squad, he said. On the opening possession, for example, Coquille got four offensive rebounds before Baird scored.
“Rebounds is one thing we’ve been stressing,” Sammons said. “We don’t’ have a lot of size.”
The Tigers did a better job blocking out as the game went on. Martin finished with seven rebounds and Nikki Lakey six.
Things should be better for the Tigers on Friday when they go against Riddle after facing a Coquille squad that has placed fifth in the past two Class 3A state tournaments.
“That game gets their feet wet,” Sammons said. “Now they’re ready to step up.”
Coquille is at North Bend on Saturday.