OROVILLE – If this year was any indication, the future of Oroville boys basketball is bright.
The Oroville Seventh grade boys basketball team wrapped up an unbeaten, 10-0 season on Wednesday, Dec. 14, with a 43-18 defeat of rival Tonasket. The Yellowjackets beat the Tigers, Okanogan and Grand Coulee twice each this season and added single victories over Bridgeport, Brewster, Liberty Bell and Omak.
Coach Jared Starkel said his team’s trademark this season was its defense.
“That was what kept us in games, because we had a few really bad shooting nights,” he said. “We called it an unforgiving defense. We wanted it to be tough and unrelenting.
“Even on nights we had trouble making baskets, we forced so many turnovers that we got layups off of that teams couldn’t stay with us.”
Not every game was a blowout. Starkel said the highlight of the season was the Yellowjackets’ 39-36 victory at Brewster.
“Playing down there the day after Thanksgiving Break, we had a few things going against us,” Starkel said. “I just told the guys, the pressure was on Brewster, because everyone expected them to win. We just needed to go out and play our kind of basketball.
“It was the first time (including AAU ball) that we’d beaten them.”
Starkel said he expects this group to be even better next year.
“The guys who’d played AAU ball really took the other guys under their wing, and they improved a lot,” he said. “I think next year they’ll be a lot better all around.”