Junior Bradley Nielsen eyes a shot during a recent varsity basketball practice for the Tigers. (The Enterprise/Yadira Lopez)

ONTARIO – There will be no easy nights for the Ontario High boys basketball team this season. 

“I don’t think there’s any drop off from last year to this year,” said Coach Kevin Attila of the Greater Oregon League.

“Baker is tough to beat,” he said. “I think La Grande is going to be super tough. They bring that toughness every year. They have such a winning culture.”

The Tigers finished last in their league last year, with an overall record of 5-18 and no league wins. 

But Attila maintains a positive attitude. 

While the team didn’t necessarily have a constant starting lineup last season, Attila pointed to a handful of players who he expects will make a strong corps this year.

“Bradley Nielsen has had a tremendous off-season,” Attila said, adding that the Ontario junior has “worked his tail off.”

[ KEEP YOUR LOCAL NEWS STRONG - SUBSCRIBE ]

“Eli Morin – I’m really looking at him for leadership and his ability to carry the team in critical moments,” said Attila of the senior player.  

Attila pointed to senior Kenji Teramura as another player to watch. 

“He’s tough as nails, a great kid and a phenomenal teammate,” Attila said. 

Juniors Jake Hartley and Lorenzo Reyna have also had a good start to the season, said the coach. 

“I’d characterize them as a team that’s tough, they love basketball and they love each other – they’re all friends,” said Attila, who is in his second year as head coach. He also teaches business at the school and is the Future Business Leaders of America advisor.

For him the season is not so much about wins and losses, he said. 

“We will categorize the year in terms of making progress, enjoying it and keeping everything positive,” he said. 

The Tigers have three away games scheduled this week. The first game of the season is scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 5, against Weiser, followed by a game Saturday, Dec. 7, against New Plymouth and another against Fruitland on Tuesday, Dec. 10. 

Have a news tip? Reporter Yadira Lopez: [email protected] or 541-473-3377

For the latest news, follow the Enterprise on Facebook and Twitter.

SUBSCRIBE TO HELP PRODUCE VITAL REPORTING -- For $5 a month, you get breaking news alerts, emailed newsletters and around-the-clock access to our stories. We depend on subscribers to pay for in-depth, accurate news produced by a professional and highly trained staff. Help us grow and get better with your subscription. Sign up HERE.