WEST SALEM — Talk about a young team. The West Salem Titans didn’t have a senior on their varsity roster last season. That was part of the fallout from COVID-19, the statewide uncertainties and the change in high school scheduling.

The upshot is that the Titans have a lot of returning players this season for fifth-year varsity coach Katie Singleton, and it’s still a team with plenty of youth.

And a team with plenty of potential enthusiasm and pace.

“We’re going to try to be an upbeat team on the court,” Singleton said. “We’ve always tried to get out in transition, and we’re going to be a faster team this year. In the past, we’ve had solid big people, but we’re more guard-oriented this year.”

Among the top returning talent is senior Mya Adams, a 5-8 point guard/shooting guard, and Baylee Butler, a starter at the point last season.

The Titans will face what could be a seriously testing preseason after their jamboree action Wednesday at home against Sunset and Sherwood. The preseason starts with a visit to always tough Jesuit on Dec. 3 and continues with two more of the Metro League’s top teams in Mountainside (Dec. 6 at West Salem) and Beaverton (Dec. 10 at Beaverton). Then comes a trip to Sherwood for a non-league game on Dec. 15, a battle with Sheldon at Moda Center on Dec. 18, a Jan. 4 game at Lakeridge and a Jan. 6 home date with South Eugene.

Then, and somewhat finally, the Titans will play their first Mountain Valley Conference game. It’s Jan. 11 at home against McKay.

Singleton said her girls are fired up about the degree of difficulty facing them in the non-league season.

“They want to compete at a high level,” she said, “and playing against those teams that are among the better ones in the state will be a good test and allow us to see where we’re at and what we need to work on.

“It should get us ready for the league season. If we hone in and focus, I’m hoping it will.”

The visit to Moda could be a highlight. The opponent, Sheldon, is where Singleton played 13 years and more ago.

“We’re giving up a home game for that, but I think the experience will be worth it,” Singleton said of being on the Portland Trail Blazers’ home floor.

She said it’s hard to predict the league season, given that the pandemic season was so different. South Salem and Bend have had good teams, and McNary is in the mix as well, she thinks.

“I’d say the league is pretty open,” she said. “Whoever gets dialed in first will be who wins it.”

A huge key for the Titans, she said, is their defense.

“It’s a matter of making sure we know what we’re doing and who we’re guarding,” Singleton said. “I’m a defensive-minded person. As long as we can focus on that end of the court and hold down the other teams’ numbers, we can be an offensive threat, too.”

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