Gerry Steele
The Baker City Herald

Five seniors and the head coach graduated from Powder Valley's girls basketball team a year ago.

The five players helped the Badgers reach the second round of the Class 1A state playoffs. The coach, Brent Gyllenberg, now coaches the boys freshmen team at Baker High School.

But, Powder Valley fans will see a familiar face on the bench this season as Allen Bingham returns to coach the girls.

Bingham coached the Badgers nine seasons from 1998 through 2006, winning the state 1A championship in 2006.

Bingham left the program after that year because of other commitments outside the school. But, some of those commitments are no longer there and he decided he wanted to return to the sideline.

"I made the decision to come back," he said.

"I really enjoy it. I'm having fun. As long as I'm having fun and the girls are having fun I'll keep doing it. I'm excited about it."

Part of that excitement comes from the talent the Badgers have. The bulk of the players on Bingham's squad were members of the Class 1A state runnerup volleyball team.

Senior Jesi Stephens returns for the Badgers after playing at Baker a year ago.

"Jesi is a huge addition," Bingham said.

"She can do just about any position, and her leadership is big. She has a nose for the ball."

Senior Katie Feik and juniors Ali Abrego and Jessica Pedro also return.

Other key players are seniors Britni Bobo and Jade Silbernagel and sophomores Alexandra Colton and McKinsey Hampton.

"We'll probably push the ball," Bingham said. "I've done upbeat in the past. And we'll use pressure defense.

"One of our strengths is we have quite a bit of height, just not a lot of depth with that height.

"And we are very athletic as a team," Bingham said.

"We have a new coach and a new system. We have to get use to each other. If we can get our system in place, and get through the preseason, we should be ready for league play in January."