Sports

Lewis to lead Wolves' girls basketball program

Hard work during the summer, a focus on fundamentals and some patience.

That's what new coach Stephanie Lewis is banking on to help turn around Sequim High School's girls basketball program after a winless 2008-2009 season.

Lewis takes over for Lisa Corbit, who resigned the varsity head coaching position in mid-June after two seasons.

With her first head-coaching position, Lewis said she feels prepared, thanks to experiences as an assistant coach at Curtis High School and Sequim

"It's a little daunting but I've coached under two awesome people who know their stuff," Lewis said. "I feel like I've learned a lot."

Corbit stepped down form the position at the end of the academic year, citing personal and professional reasons.

"I've got some other things in my life I want to pursue right now," Corbit said last week. "It's too time-consuming with what (is required of a coach)."

Lewis grew up in the Tacoma area and played basketball at middle school and high school levels - four years with Lakes' coach

Allan Cail - and for another four or five select hoops teams. She coached a select boys team before joining the Curtis High School staff in 2004, where she worked as an assistant for Cail through 2006.

After a year teaching at Fort Lewis, Lewis joined the Sequim Middle School staff in 2007 as a physical education teacher and moved to the high school last year, where she teaches physical education, aerobics and team racket sports. Lewis also coaches the middle school's seventh-grade volleyball team and the track & field throwers.

"I think she's going to

do a great job," said high school athletic director Dave Ditlefsen.

"It'll be nice to see her build it back to a real strong program," he said. "She's very organized (and) very professional."

Last season, the Wolves struggled through the entire 20-game nonleague and Olympic League schedule, losing by an average of 31 points per contest.

"I think last year was a learning year for pretty much all of us," said Lewis, Sequim's fourth coach in five years.

To get that turned around, Lewis wants to see much more off-season work in the gym.

"In order to have a successful program, you have to have good fundamentals and good reaction time," she said.

That's why she's opened up the SHS gym each summer morning, working on fundamental tasks like screens and explaining the nuts and bolts of the sport.

Right now, Lewis gets just four to six players per morning session, which works well for those desiring one-on-one time with the coach and work on individual skills but doesn't recreate in-game situations.

Lewis expects her teams to be defensive-minded - "it's something I'm a stickler for," she said - but will expect her players to be able to run set offensive plays.

The first-year head coach said she doesn't expect to turn the program around overnight.

"I'm hoping for a little bit of ... grace period," Lewis said. "It's going to take time."

Corbit said Lewis is well-prepared for the head coaching job.

"Even though she's young, she's already wise," Cobit said. "She's just a wealth of knowledge. What's best for the program is someone young. If she sticks with it, she can start her (own) program and build it. I think she's a good fit."

Reach Michael Dashiell at miked@sequimgazette.com.



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