On the brink of the playoffs last season, the core of Sequim basketball is back and shooting for the top.
After a seventh place Olympic League finish at 5-11 in the conference and 7-13 overall, head coach Evan Still said his team’s goal is to be in the top four and in the playoffs.
“We’re going to surprise some teams,” he said.
Back are most of last year’s team along with Jordan Miller who has moved up from JV and North Carolina sophomore transfer Kylee Williams.
“She’s smart and can really shoot,” Still said of Williams.
Columbia Haupt was last year’s lone senior who graduated while Alexas Besand, Melanie Guan and Vanessa Martinez step up as seniors this year.
Who will start isn’t determined yet but Still has tried a lot of different combinations in scrimmages.
“That’s a good problem to have,” Still said.
For now, he pinpoints Elise Beuke, Caitlin Stofferahn, Victoria Cummins, Besand, and Guan as the team’s likely starters with Guan at point guard.
Still is optimistic the team learned a lot from playing summer league, which they haven’t done before as a collective unit.
“We played 20 games over the summer with a majority of them there for that,” he said.
“It’s been a team effort. The growth has been there and everyone is committed. That’s been the biggest improvement.”
He sees a lot of potential for everyone to step up and thinks they are understanding basketball better.
“This year, they are taking what defense gives them. That’s encouraging,” Still said.
Last season, the Wolves relied heavily on Besand as their leading scorer, but Still reinforces the team effort should spread it around more this season. He said Jordan Miller and Kylee Williams can shoot from anywhere while Stofferahn is back at 100% from a hip injury that bothered her last season.
“Elise Beuke has been working out in the gym as much if not more than anyone else,” Still said. “It’s hard pressed to find a girl more coachable and that work’s harder than her.”
While Still admits the team isn’t deep in the post position, the core of the team will be there for a few more years with five juniors and three sophomores receiving playing time.
To make the playoffs, Still said the team must play the toughest teams like Port Angeles, North Kistap and Bremerton, who has Sawyer Kluge, one of the best players in the league, well.
On a personal note, Still said going into his second season as head coach that girls basketball is much more team-minded than boys.
“Girls have a tendency to want to win as a team. Guys don’t always have that,” he said. “(Girls) make winning a lot more fun.”