First-year varsity coach Aaron Schmidt will lead a Pendleton girls’ basketball team that is short on varsity experience.

The 2009-10 JV Buckaroos finished 20-3, but their continued success depends on how the inexperienced athletes transition to the next level.

“We’ll be the smallest and youngest team in every game we play,” Schmidt said.

Point guard Brittany Gregerson will lead Pendleton’s offense, which includes sophomore Gabby Heehn whom Schmidt called “one of the best shooters in a while that we’ve had in Pendleton.”

Heehn dropped 40 three pointers in JV games last year. Pendleton’s single-season varsity record is 32 or 33, Schmidt said, so her production could potentially break records.

The tallest timber for Pendleton will be senior Marika Sitz, a 5-foot-10 2009 reserve player. What the Bucks lack in size, Schmidt plans to make up for with effort.

“We’re going to hang our hats on flying around the court,” Schmidt said. “They’re used to winning, but I’m excited to see if they rise to the challenge of varsity competition.”

Pendleton last year finished in the bottom half of the Intermountain Conference. Besides Gregerson and Heehn, junior guard Jory Spencer and sophomore forward Rayne Spencer will lead the Bucks’ charge for a better Columbia River Conference run with their sights set on Hermiston.  

“Hermiston is our benchmark and we want to play them to see where we’re at,” Schmidt said. “Hermiston sets the bar in our league, and that’s where we want to be.”

The Bucks will scrimmage on Saturday at noon.

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