With a lot of excitement and fanfare, the Fulton girls basketball team pulled an upset to move to the regional title game to cap off their 2018-2019 season.
Now, they’re back for more.
The Steamers have crucial chunks of that same team returning for yet another year, including a talented and athletic group of seniors who just claimed a regional title on the volleyball court.
“I think from the moment we lost in the regional title game, we committed to coming back stronger,” head coach Mike Menchaca said, who is back for his seventh year at the helm of the program. “We put together a “Brick by Brick” motto- the team has really taken to it.
“Our seniors are hoping to cement their legacy by securing our first regional title in years, and coming off a successfully volleyball campaign- I think they are wanting more.”
A big leader of that pack will be senior Emily Schipper. The multi-sport star returns as the team’s leading scorer and rebounder, taking up a lot of room in the middle of the lane.
Joining her is Kylie Collachia, a 5’9 junior who has become a crucial part of Steamer athletics through her underclassmen years.
Liz Fish is also returning for the Steamer. Fish is a junior guard, but makes plenty of moves towards the rim that clog things in the lane and can pull down rebounds with the tallest on the roster.
“Liz Fish and Kylie Collachia are really coming together for a tough combo,” Menchaca said. “Fish is looking to take Games over this year And Collachia is really good around the rim.”
The biggest loss for the Steamers was their one and only senior, Rylee Leitzen. Leitzen added a three-point threat to the perimeter and handled the ball the majority of the times.
Ally Reed is out with an injury, leaving the ball handling area short.
“That was a hit to the team for sure,” Menchaca said about the injury. Reed was poised to take the starting point guard position. “But I think [senior] Kylee Sweenie has developed into a nice option, with Fish.
“I think [senior] Kearston Norman playing more on the perimeter will help.We have a lot of trust in her so we hope she gets a lot of shots up. I like this group a ton- we have a tight group for sure.
Last year ended with just a 10-21 record, but the Steamers had some of their best games by the end of it.
Plus, another year of experience with a talented group of athletes is making them look like a real area contender.
“Season wise I think we believe we should compete for a conference title for sure, build on last years run and find ourselves back to the championship game,” Menchaca said. “We want regional title but it’s been a while since we have finished a top of the conference standings.”
Fulton opens it’s season Wednesday night, participating in the annual Oregon Tipoff Tournament.