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December 12, 2018

After talking about all the riverfront teams last week, I will be talking about the non-river teams, Hundred and Valley, and maybe some wrestling too.

Starting with Hundred, I have noticed a big difference in all sports at Hundred, as well as other activities. It looks to me that all the Hornet Nation wants to get back into the light once again.

It always starts at the top and trickles down to the student athletes. You can't do much better that Virgil Wilkins, maybe besides Mike Ray back in the day. Coach Wilkins has been at Hundred High School for a long time. snd he is more than a gentlemen to this reporter and to his players.

He has gotten the Hundred basketball players buying in to what he is trying to do, and it's paying off. He went from only having a varsity team to about 30 to start the season, to a good 20 players who want to play.

He has some great athletes coming up through the system, and it looks bright, not only for the boys basketball, but all sports. He has three very nice players in Travis McCoy, Cody Soles and Logan Norris, but they have more. I just wanted to use these three in my column.

But, for every good coach, there is a very good assistant. Look no further than Jeremy Kelch, who is also the Athletic Director. I believe that there must be a good cop, bad cop when it concerns kids, and this is a great example. Not saying that Coach Kelch is the real deal when it comes to that, but he tells it like it is, and the kids know where he stands.

With McCoy, the Hornets have a big man to post-up, while having Norris and Soles as a pair of quality outside shooting guards who can drive and finish off fast breaks.

With these three, they have a lot of scoring firepower and rebounding ability, but they still have guys to get the job done if they get into foul trouble and have to watch from the bench. Thats a good thing, because they have very capable guys that can do the job too. I believe in what coaches Wilkins and Kelch are doing, and I believe they have what it takes to have a great regular season, and post season too.

Now on the girls side, you have some girls that can make some noise this season. Veteran Coach Steve Dakan has a nice group of girls who will only get better and better as the season goes on. They may take some licks early, but I'm sure they will be more than capable to win some games. They have a very young team that will start two freshman, a sophomore and two seniors. They have five other underclassmen to boot.

They may be a year or two away as they have a good crop of junior high girls ready to fill in once they get into high school. With Katherine Henderson and Emily Metz as senior leaders that have much in the past to build on, they do have some right now, and with their help as well as some good old-fashioned coaching, you can bet these girls will work it out and have a good season too.

Over the hollar, there are the Valley Lumberjacks and Lumberjills ready to go. On the boys side, there is veteran head coach John Kocher, and on the girls coach there is Casey Sapp taking over the girls head coaching duties. Kocher has seen it all, and if he hasn't, he has Jack Dakan helping out. Having talked with John, he is changing his philosophy somewhat and going with what he has in his strength. I'm sure they will run when they can, but I believe they will zone up and play good hard defense, while picking their poison on offense.

Kocher has some guys who can light it up from outside as all ten varsity players each can pull the trigger when it warrants. I have grown to like their style of basketball, and that's probably why I cover them more than others.

Any Valley Lumberjack basketball team that I have ever covered brings their best, every game. They never give up when down big, and they play as hard as they do in the first quarter as they will in the fourth period.

They don't have that one guy that will carry the load, but they do have one that, by midway in the season, I feel will be, and that is Avery Kinkade.

Now on the girls side, there is a new sheriff in town in Casey Sapp, who was the Hundred Hornets assistant last year, but he was the head guy for the biggest part of the season due to Steve Dakan's injury.

He inherits a veteran team with four starters back, but he can only count on three for the biggest part of the season, if any, but he returns a nice senior who sat out a year in Emma Ueltschy. Along with Ueltschy, the Lumberjills return seniors Caitlyn Underwood and Jenna Dallison. And, with sophomore Racel Bates, who had a really nice freshman season under her belt, the 'Jills have a solid corp to start with.

Their loss of Sophie Palmer will hurt, but the loss of McKinlee Yoho will hurt just as much until she is let go by her doctor, which could be the entire season. However, Coach Sapp has some capable players to fill any holes the team may have, including four freshmen - that also includes another Dallison, Reagan.

The 'Jills may also struggle at first, but knowing what I have seen in some of the Lumberjill practices, they will be ready to rock-in-roll all season.

I have been buried with work and getting my vacation time out of the way before the year is up, so I didn't have the chance to get involved with wrestling yet, but I will as soon as possible.

With only 20 days left until Christmas, I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, if I don't forget to in my next column.



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