It’s a big year for the Oasis Academy girls basketball team.
This year brings a full squad of 12 varsity players for the Lady Bighorns’ first season recognized by the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association. Coach Dusty Casey noted they would not be fielding a junior varsity team this year.
The Lady Bighorns have their first game against Sierra Lutheran’s Lady Falcons on Tuesday in Carson City at 4:30 p.m.
This year’s team is fairly young. The majority of players are freshmen and sophomores, though they do have a couple of juniors and seniors. The roster includes freshmen Taryn Barrenchea, Sadie O’Flaherty, Emma Robinson, Casey Sequoya, Amanda Ngo and Alison Norcutt; sophomores Brooklyn Whitaker, Savannah Robinson and Elizabeth Williams; juniors Janelle Pike and Mariah Snooks; and senior Carmen Trinidad.
Casey will be assisted in coaching by Theresa Barrenchea.
Though they’re a young group, there is plenty of talent on the squad with a number of multisport athletes. Casey said the team has a good mix of perimeter and post players this year and added the players have a good range of experience with only a handful who have never really played before.
“Overall, I’m actually pretty impressed with the caliber of experience that we have,” he said. “Hopefully we’ll have a decent year.”
Savannah Robinson said she feels it will be an interesting season and that they’ll be playing teams they’ve never seen before. She said it would be a good start for their program as members of the NIAA.
Casey agreed it would be an interesting season. He noted smaller schools typically have a hard time fielding teams but could do amazing with the right players.
He said since basketball has such small teams, one or two players could make all the difference.
“If they have a core group of two or three girls who are good, they could have a successful season,” he said.
Oasis currently has about 16 games scheduled along with tournaments. Casey noted that, while they are recognized by the NIAA, they are considered an independent team during a probationary period and have to schedule their own games.
The coach added he hopes they will be part of the NIAA’s scheduled rotation next year, giving them more games, both away and at home. They are currently slated to join League 1A, though have yet to be formally accepted.
Another part of the probationary period is that Oasis will not be able to participate in playoffs this year or in the 2018-19 season.
Though they have a varsity team, Oasis will also play against some school’s junior varsity teams. Casey said when he talked to some of the more experienced varsity programs, it was agreed it would be better for them to play JV.
“If they thought we would be better aligned to play their JV, then that’s what we’ll do,” he said. “The other athletic directors and coaches have been really good, they’re like ‘I think this’ll be a more competitive game, so let’s do JV’ or ‘let’s play varsity, cause we’ve had a down year,’ so they’ve been really accommodating.”
When they do have home games, Oasis will be playing in Venturacci Gym. Casey said the gym has been great in accommodating them. He said they redid the floor, made repairs to some of the hoops and other facilities, and added modular locker rooms just outside the building for teams to use.
“The city’s been great,” Casey said. “They’re getting ready for high school seasons … we’re really excited.”