NEWS

Owen basketball coaches look ahead

Karrigan Monk
Black Mountain News
Owen's girls basketball team had a 10-13 record for the 2021-22 season.

The high school basketball season has started, and the Owen teams are looking to improve their records from last year.

Last season, the boys team went 3-20 while the girls went 10-13. Both teams were 3-9 in conference play.

This season, the boys team was 2-1 after defeating Tuscola 58-54 on Nov. 29 and McDowell 63-62 on Nov. 22. The team lost the season opener on Nov. 21, 82-32 against East Rutherford.

The girls team was 1-2. The team lost 82-32 to East Rutherford on Nov. 21 and 67-15 to McDowell on Nov. 22. A 57-35 victory over Tuscola on Nov. 29 gave the Warlassies their first win of the season.

“It’s been a rough start,” girls coach Chasity Simpson said. “We’re building and we’re getting there.”

Simpson said the team is relatively young, with six returning players, four of whom are starters. She said everyone else is new.

Of the starting five, there are three seniors, one junior and a sophomore.

Boys coach Joe Valencia said his team is a good combination of returning and new players.

“We’re kind of a good mix between senior leadership and youth,” Valencia said. “It’s a real nice mix, and they’re really buying in right now into playing a defensive style of basketball more so than an offensive style of basketball.”

Valencia did not coach last year and said he is excited to be coaching the team this season, but the schedule may prove difficult.

“A very tough schedule has been set for us coming off of a year like last year,” Valencia said. “So far we’re 2-1 and we’ve won two tough ballgames against two 4A schools. I’m happy. The schedule we got set is not for a small school.”

Looking forward for the rest of the season, Valencia said he wants the team to focus on defensive measures.

“We’re going to build on defense first,” Valencia said. “Defense wins the ballgame. I’m super excited. They’re playing great and giving me everything.”

Both Simpson and Valencia said they want to see support for the basketball teams from the school and community.

“We want people to come out and show their support,” Simpson said.

Valencia said his goal for the season is “to bring Owen basketball back to the valley and pack the stands again.”