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Basketball: Barry picked for all-league first team
Sequim Gazette staff
Their seasons ended short of their ultimate goal, but Sequim prep hoopsters and coaches earned accolades from league coaches this winter.
Alex Barry was named to the All-Olympic league First Team for Sequim’s boys while Alexas Besand was named to the second team for Sequim’s girls.
Sequim second-year coach Evan Still was named the Olympic League’s girls Coach of the Year after leading Sequim to a 10-6 record and fourth place finish in the Olympic League and postseason appearance.
Besand, a senior, led the team with 11.4 points, 10.2 rebounds, 2.3 steals and 1.5 blocks per game.
In addition, a trio of her teammates were named all-league honorable mentions: junior forward Caitlin Stofferahn (9.5 points, 3.2 rebounds, 75.5% free throw, 31% 3-point) junior post Elise Beuke (4.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, 0.6 blocks) and sophomore guard Mackenzie Bentz (3 points, 2.3 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.2 steals).
Still said Besand was definitely worthy of first team honors.
“You’d be hard pressed to find a girl put up these kinds of numbers especially in our league,” Still said.
“She doesn’t get a lot of credit she deserves. It’s nothing fancy. She grinds it out. One game against Olympic at home she had 18 rebounds and 9 points and against Bremerton at home she had 18 points and 14 rebounds. You don’t realize it but she does it all very quietly.”
Stofferahn, the team’s second leading scorer, is recovering from an ACL tear that could see her return early next basketball season.
“This year she did a lot more scoring from all over, which made her twice the player from last year,” Still said. “We just want her to heal up.”
Still also spoke highly of the small things Beuke and Bentz did particularly on defense.
“(Beuke)’s defense inside and being there and contesting made a big difference,” Still said.
“She started to finally realize a third of the way through the season that if she just puts her hands up, girls won’t be able to score over her. If we counted how many shots she affected it’d be off the charts.”
With Bentz, Still said he asked her to guard the teams’ best player often and held multiple players to single digit scoring.
“If (Bentz and Vanessa Martinez) don’t get the steals they get the deflection,” Still said. “If I could count how many times she gets her hand on the ball, it’d be crazy.”
Still led these girls and their fellow Wolves to their first playoff appearance in three years.
Receiving the Coach of the Year award was quite an honor, he said.
“It’s my name on the award but my coaching staff is pretty incredible with Taylor Thorson and Jerry Pedersen. They are are volunteers and don’t get paid,” Still said.
“We wouldn’t have gotten anything if not for them along with Justine Wagner (JV coach) and Kathleen Kiele (assistant JV coach).”
The difference maker this year, he said, was seeing more commitment from players especially with going to team camp.
“If we could commitment from seven or eight, the improvement they could make could be incredible,” he said. “The potential for this team is enormous.”
With the Wolves’ leading scoring graduating and Stofferahn’s return date unknown, Still said they’ll likely shift their focus from a post team to more emphasis on guards particularly Bentz and Jordan Miller.
“It’ll have to be even more well rounded scoring effort,” Still said.
For the boys
Barry, a junior, led Sequim in several categories: scoring (16.5 points per game), rebounding (8.0), steals (2.1), 3-point shooting (.390) and field goal percentage (.441).
“I’m really happy for Alex — he’s a game-changer,” Sequim coach Greg Glasser said. “Teams have to guard you a lot further from the basket. He really stretched the court for us. He (also) does a great job on the boards and defensively.”
Teammates Anthony Pinza, a senior guard, and Rory Kallappa, a senior forward, were named all-league honorable mentions. Pinza led the team in assists (5.5 per game) while Kallappa was second on the team in scoring (9.6 points per game).
Glaser said he was happy to see Kallappa’s name on the list.
“The last couple years (Rory) has been a strong player for us,” Glasser said.
The Sequim coach added that he was surprised and disappointed senior post Erik Christensen wasn’t picked for the all-league team.
“Erik is just a difference maker inside,” Glasser said. “He really slowed opposing guard wanting to come into the key.”
Christensen led the team with 39 blocks, scored 8.7 points per game, grabbed 6.2 rebounds per contest and tied for second on the team with 28 steals.
Glasser noted that his players try not to put too much importance on things like all-league honors.
“They’d rather be playing right now rather than have individual awards,” he said.
Around the league
Derek Schumacher of Port Angeles was named to the all-league second team and teammate Hayden Gunderson was selected for an honorable mention.
Bremerton swept the Olympic League’s prep basketball MVP awards. Sawyer Kluge was named MVP for the girls while Deonte Dixon was named MVP for the boys. Knights coach Darren Bowden was selected as league’s boys Coach of the Year.
Port Angeles’ Maddy Hinrichs was named to the all-league girls first team.
Olympic received the team sportsmanship award for the boys, while North Mason took home the sportsmanship award for the girls’ division.