Sports

Hopes are rising

by MICHAEL DASHIELL
Sequim Gazette

Sequim High senior Lea Hopson drives to the hoop for a bucket in the fourth quarter of the Wolves’ season-opening 50-42 loss to Olympic. Hopson had 11 points.  Sequim Gazette photo by Michael Dashiell


Two seasons. Two long seasons.

 

Two years removed from a district berth, Sequim’s girls basketball squad is searching for the win column.

Going with a team last winter that saw three freshmen in the lineup, second-year coach Stephanie Lewis expects good things from her squad in 2010 and 2011.

 

“This year we have a lot of speed, which we hope to utilize in our favor,” Lewis says. “Our focus is defense this year, with our speed and spunk we are hoping to surprise a few teams.

 

“We’re trying to prove everyone wrong.”

 

Leading the way is fleet-footed senior Lea Hopson, a three-year varsity guard who led the squad with 12.1 points and three steals per game and nabbed 5.5 rebounds per contest to boot.

 

Forward Lindsey Soha, a senior and two-year varsity player, adds rebounding and clutch scoring, while juniors Bailey Rookard (guard) and Demiree Briones (center) add depth in the backcourt and in the middle.

 

And then there’s the sophomore trio. Taylor Balkan, Haleigh Harrison and Rylleigh Zbaraschuk gave opponents’ second teams fits last season with their speed and strength, and look to do the same against Olympic League first-team players this season.

 

Zbaraschuk led the team in scoring five times and was second on the team with 8.3 points and 2.5 steals per contest.

 

At 5 feet 10 inches tall, Harrison led the team in rebounding at 9.2 caroms per game and led the team with 24 blocked shots; the next highest total was five.

 

Balkan added solid play from the point guard position and was second on the team in free-throw percentage.

 

Sequim adds Melanie Guan, a 5-foot 8-inch freshman to the mix.

 

“(Melanie) is pretty quick. She will be a good asset to our team,” Lewis says. “We do have a young team but (I) feel that the team will bond together much better this year.”

 

Lewis said she expects to rotate players up from junior varsity to complement the eight-player varsity roster, including Columbia Haupt, Alexas Besand and Maddie Hamer.

 

Lewis did pre-season interviews with each of the players, asking about their level of commitment to the team.

 

Her message?

 

“We need to turn this program around,” Lewis says. “We’re way more focused in practice. They’re angry.”

Reach Michael Dashiell at miked@sequimgazette.com.

 

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