Winter sports preview: SHS girls hoops’ experience, youth look to return SHS to playoffs

Sequim High girls basketball

Head coach: Larry Brown (third season)

2017-2018 record: 8-12 (4-8 in Olympic League, fifth place); missed playoffs

Top returning players: Bobbi Sparks (sr.), Hope Glasser (jr.), Jessica Dietzman (jr.), Jayla Julmist (so.), Kalli Wiker (so.), Melissa Porter (so.), Abby Schroeder (so.)

Key newcomers: Riley Pyeatt (fr.), Hannah Wagner (fr.)

For a team with a wealth of varsity experience, Sequim’s girls hoops squad remains one of the youngest rosters in the Olympic League.

“I have seven returners — that’s the most I’ve had in my three years here,” SHS head coach Larry Brown said. “(But) four are sophomores. We still have a lot of youth.

“It’s good to get that many players with varsity experience.”

Last season, Sequim finished one spot out of postseason contention with a 4-8 league record, but Brown said he thinks this year’s Wolves squad has a good shot at a district berth.

“I think we’re a top-four team (in league),” Brown said.

Leading the way are a trio of third-year players in juniors Hope Glasser and Jessica Dietzman, and senior Bobbi Sparks.

Glasser, an All-Olympic League second team forward, led the Wolves with 10.1 points to go with 12.6 rebounds per game in 2017-2018.

Dietzman, who shared point guard responsibilities with Sparks, led the team with 4.4 assists per game and chipped in 5.6 points and 4.8 rebounds per contest. Sparks added 3.3 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game.

Also back is sophomore Jayla Julmist, who paced the team with 13.7 rebounds per game, and fellow 10th-graders Kalli Wiker (4.8 points, 5.7 rebounds per game), Abby Schroeder (3.1 ppg, 6.7 rpg) and Melissa Porter (5.2 ppg).

Joining the mix are freshmen Riley Pyeatt and Hannah Wagner, who both have experience with local club basketball squads, to go with swing (varsity-JV) players Dustin Greenspane (senior), Amanda Weller (sophomore) and LeeAnn Raney (freshman).

Most of Sequim’s hoops players were competing in a sport this fall for the Wolves — both a problem and an advantage to getting them ready for basketball season.

“That’s the toughest thing I deal with, going from a fall sport to a winter sport,” Brown said. “They’re so committed to other activities. It’s good, because everyone but one was in a fall sport; I don’t have to focus too much on conditioning.”

Brown said Sequim’s quartet of freshmen needed about a half-season to adjust to the quickness of high school competition, and that this year’s Wolves may see the same sort of growth as the 2018-2019 campaign rolls on.

“It took us half a season to get used to that (speed),” Brown said. “That second group of ten games (is where we should peak). I think we have the talent to be in the upper echelon.”

Returning league champ Port Angeles returns a host of strong returning players — Millie Long, Madison Cooke and Jaida Wood, among others — while North Kitsap looks to be a force once again after going 21-8 last season.

“PA is impressive; coach (Mike) Poindexter coaches them well,” Brown said.

But the Sequim coach likes what he sees early on from his squad in purple and gold.

“We have young players, but … we’re going to compete and surprise a lot of people with our athleticism,” Brown said.

The Wolves open with a pair of non-league home games — Nov. 29 against 3A Bainbridge and Dec. 3 against 1A Coupeville — before opening the Olympic League slate at home against Kingston on Dec. 5. Sequim doesn’t face rival Port Angeles until a road match-up on Jan. 8.