PLEASANT HILL – One year ago the Pleasant Hill Billies girls basketball team was finishing a 6-11 regular season in which it went 2-6 in league play and missed the playoffs.
Fast-forward 12 months and the Billies finished this regular season at 21-1 and 12-0 in league play, claiming the Mountain Valley Conference crown for the first time since the 2019-20 season with a 57-30 win over Harrisburg last week.
“It means a lot. Especially, it means a lot that the girls were willing to work hard coming off of last season,” Pleasant Hill coach Kim Beer said. “I had hoped that we’d come in at least second, and first was just going to be icing on the cake. So they bought into trying to get that, and they worked really hard.”
A large part of that turnaround was the return of Beer as head coach. Beer led the Billies in 2011-13 and has coached at La Pine, North Douglas, and Yoncalla since.
Even more special is the Billies clinched the league title in front of a packed home gym against Harrisburg on senior night. Two seniors who have been significant on-court contributors this season led the team in scoring that night – Kiley Campos with 18 points and Shyanne Fenley with 14.
Both have been tough on the defensive end of the court as well, which is where these Billies truly shine. Pleasant Hill allowed an average of only 22 points per game this season, best in the state for girls basketball in any classification. During the offseason when Beer came in, he asked the girls if they played zone last year. When the girls answered no, he set to work teaching them the 2-3 zone, which has given opponents fits all season.
“They picked it up, and I think they play a really good zone, so I’m pretty proud of that,” Beer said. “We practice it a lot. Realistically, we probably practice more defense than we do offense.”
That defense has generated fast-break opportunities because of steals.
“A lot of our points on offense come off our defense, and that just gets us rolling, and the kids get excited,” Beer said. “We’re going to continue to lean on that, and then work the ball around offensively.”
Now the Billies look toward the state tournament at Coos Bay, where they’ll hope to be one of the favorites. In order to do that, Beer knows the team will come up against other top teams. If Pleasant Hill is going to beat them, they’ll need their stout defense. One advantage Beer sees for the postseason though is the team’s spread-out scoring on offense.
“We don’t necessarily have just one girl that scores a bunch of points. We have several that can score well, and I think that helps make us a little bit hard to scout,” he said.