DAYTON — After winning two state championships and two Class 3A state player of the year awards, what’s next for Dayton junior basketball player Shawnie Spink?
“Just to keep improving,” she said. “Every year, we get better, and I just hope that continues. We keep getting it done in the state tournament, so if we keep working hard, maybe we can achieve it again.”
Despite being a freshman and sophomore the past two seasons, Spink has been stellar in the biggest moments.
In last season’s OSAA Class 3A state championship game, Spink had a triple-double with 12 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists to help the Pirates beat Amity 56-42. In the 2015 state championship game, Spink had 14 points, nine rebounds and six assists to lead Dayton past Salem Academy 51-39.
“I think the big thing with her is that she just loves the game so much,” said Dayton coach Scott Spink, who is Shawnie’s father. “She’s surrounded by great teammates, and she would tell you that, also. They’re a big part of what’s been going on with her and our team.”
As she enters her junior season, Shawnie Spink said that she is focusing on creating her own shot, something that will help should she play at the college level.
“Being able to shoot off my own dribble, being able to draw the defense and get more assists,” she said. “And get more people open.”
Shawnie Spink is still in the early stages of figuring out what she wants to do after high school.
“I know I want to play college basketball, but I don’t know where yet,” she said. “I want to stay in Oregon.”
Scott Spink said that he enjoys the opportunity to coach his daughter.
“Shawnie and I, we’ll go home after practice and sometimes we’ll talk basketball, and sometimes we’ll talk something else,” he said. “I respect her opinion, and she respects me as a coach. We’ve never had any conflicts. She knows there’s expectations there, and I also know I need to handle her and all the other girls equally. It’s been great.”
This season, Dayton will rely on a few new players to step up, something Shawnie Spink is confident will happen.
“This year, we’ve had a lot of girls step up, girls who really didn’t even get to play last year,” she said. “So I think people are going to be surprised. This year, I think we’re going to be deeper than in the past.”
Coming off consecutive state championships, expectations are high for Dayton, but Shawnie Spink said the players aren’t focusing on defending their state title just yet.
“We really want to be league champs because the last two years we were co-league champs,” she said. “We want to be undefeated in league. We want to have a good preseason, so we set ourselves up for a good RPI. But we have little goals that we want to meet along the way.”
Even though the team has won two straight state championships, Scott Spink said the team is still motivated to be the best in the state again.
“I would say that these girls are still really hungry and ready to go,” he said. “They want to do it again. They’ve felt what it’s like, and it’s a great experience. So that’s the goal for them this year.”
Scott Spink said the players understand the pressure of being a two-time defending state champion.
“There’s a target on their back, and we felt it even last year,” he said. “And you know, these girls have been playing together since third grade. A lot of tournaments, a lot of championship games, so I think they’re kind of used to it. So I think that they realize the pressure is there, but I think they’re ready for it.”
Shawnie Spink said she’s confident that the team will peak at the right time, just as they have done in the past.
“I don’t even think about the state tournament until it gets close to that,” she said. “Right now, I’m just worried about everyone finding their role and playing good as a team. And then when the state tournament comes, we usually peak at that moment. And so that’s worked out for us in the past. But it is a lot of pressure, it is a lot of expectations to live up to, but I think we can do it. We work hard.”
pmartini@StatesmanJournal.com, (503) 399-6730, or Twitter.com/pmartiniSJ
Girls basketball preview
Greater Valley Conference preview
Coach: Lee Horton, third year.
Last year’s record: 3-21 overall, 2-14 GVC.
Breeanna Mike, sr., W: An honorable mention all-league player as a junior.
Jasmine Arevalo, sr., W: A returning starter.
Outlook: The Royal Scots are still trying to get competitive and this will be a building year.
Coach: Derick Handley, third year.
Last year’s record: 23-6 overall, 14-2 GVC, fourth place in 6A.
Sydney Hunter, sr., W: The 6-foot-1 guard was a first-team all-league player as a junior and has signed to play in college at San Diego.
Kailey Doutt, jr., W: A returning starter and honorable mention all-league player last year, she is an aggressive and strong all-around player.
Anita Lao, so., G: A strong distributor who was the sixth man last year and will play big minutes this season.
Outlook: The Celtics placed fourth in the state last year and will be a strong contender in the top three teams in the GVC this season.
Coach: Anna Marchbanks, first year.
Outlook: The Vikings are playing a JV schedule this season.
Coach: Nick McWilliams, 10th year.
Last year’s record: 28-1 overall, 16-0 GVC, won Class 6A state championship.
Evina Westbrook, sr., G: The state player of the year as a junior, and one of the top players in the nation, who has signed to play basketball at Tennessee.
Dani Harley, sr., G: A second-team all-league player as a junior who has developed into a clutch outside shooter.
Lexi Hicks, jr., P: Has developed into a strong inside player who is developing on the outside.
Outlook: The Saxons have won two consecutive Class 6A state championships and with the best player in the state back in Westbrook will be a preseason favorite to win it for a third time.
Coach: Casey Willliams, third year.
Last year’s record: 10-15 overall, 5-11 GVC, lost in play-in round.
Natalie Bock, jr., G: A two-year starter and improved player, she has been one of the bright spots in the program.
Sarah Teubner, sr., PG: An honorable mention all-league player last year, she was the league player of the year in soccer this fall.
Kiyah Brown, sr., G: A player who has been an integral part of the team’s turnaround.
Outlook: The Olympians made a big step forward in reaching the play-in round last year and have the players to make another step up this season.
Coach: Terry Williams, third year.
Last year’s record: 17-9 overall, 10-6 GVC, lost in second round of state playoffs.
Delaney Henery, sr., W: One of the state’s leading scorers and a first-team all-league player as a junior, she has signed a letter of intent to play basketball at Lewis-Clark State.
Brenna Redman, jr., P: A much-improved player, she was a second-team all-league player as a sophomore.
Jenna Markel, sr., P: Developed into an integral component of the post for the Titans as a junior and was an honorable mention all-league player.
Outlook: The Titans have the talent to compete with the top teams in the conference this year and have the potential to reach the state tournament.
Also in the GVC
Forest Grove: The Vikings had a good, young group last year and should be in contention for a state playoffs this season.
McMinnville: The Grizzlies showed potential last season (8-8 GVC) with a strong sophomore-dominated lineup.
West Albany: With a team including senior Saylor Siegner, the Bulldogs (7-9 GVC last season) have the potential to contend for a state playoff spot.
Mid-Willamette Conference: Silverton is the defending 5A state champion, but graduated one player from last year’s team and will have work to do. The Foxes return all-league players in Maggie Roth, Brooke McCarty, Hannah Munson and Hailey Smisek and are the team to beat in the league. Central has a young, but talented team in sophomores Elizabeth Chavez, Katelyn Trevino, Annika Riddell and Mariah Hyre and has a promising freshman in Megan Mendazona.
Oregon West Conference: Cascade swept the league last year and was second in state. The Cougars will be a contender for the state championship with a team including first-team all-state junior Halle Wright, all-league players including Kirstin Cade and Kelsey Molan and a transfer in Mariah Hollenbeck. Stayton has the talent to hang with Cascade with returning all-league players in Tess Hendricks and Alyssa Lindemann and has athletic players in Alexa Bender and Rachel Doran who give the team a strong starting five. Former Silverton boys coach Darren Shryock takes over as head coach.
West Valley League: Dayton has won the past two state championships and is the favorite to win it again. The Pirates return two-time state player of the year Shawnie Spink and first-team all-state player Kalina Rojas and will be tough to beat. Amity placed second in the state, but graduated four all-state players.
PacWest Conference: The league race will be between Salem Academy and Blanchet Catholic. Salem Academy returns starters including Sydney Brown, Aimee Smith, Eva Hardy and Lindsey Larsen and has the talent to improve on its third-place state finish of last year. Blanchet returns senior Sophia Poole and an impressive group of sophomores in Ana Coronado, Bailey Hittner, Trinity Phipps, Haley Ostby and Kalea Salang and will contend for a state tournament berth. Scio has six seniors including first-team all-league Kimberly Ortiz and junior Katelyn Gray and should contend for a state playoff spot.
Tri-River Conference: The league race will be tight this season. Kennedy is the defending 2A state champion and graduated a strong senior class, but has a solid junior class including Kaylin Cantu and Hannah Arritola and will contend. Western Mennonite returns first-team all-state point guard Madison Hull and will be strong. Regis returns an athletic group of seniors including Abigail Frith, Paige Rickman and Haydn Moll and sophomore starter Kirsten Koehnke and has the talent to win the league. St. Paul has an athletic group including seniors Elizabeth Brentano and Griselda Vargas-Ayala and freshman Erin Counts and will be tough.
Casco League: The conference is wide open with defending state champion Country Christian moving to a different conference. Willamette Valley Christian has a strong group of upperclassmen including Sarah Falardeau and Emma Kinler. Crosshill Christian returns first-team all-league player Sarah Stoddard and a group including Hannah Schanz and will contend for the top spot.