Winter sports preview: Sisters, freshmen help fuel SHS girls hoops squad

Expectations? After a year-and-a-half layoff, two school years turned upside down thanks to a pandemic and sports seasons overlapping one another, Sequim High girls basketball coach Linsay Rapelje isn’t pinning anything down anytime soon.

”I don’t have expectations; it’s literally been day by day,” she said, just a few hours after her squad opened with a 61-21 rout of East Jefferson on May 9.

“You always want to win, (but) this year, ultimately, I just want the girls to play and enjoy (it),” she said.

The Wolves have grown into a force in the region since Rapelje took over partway through the 2018-2019 season, scoring a state 2A tourney playoff berth that year and coming within a win of another during last year’s playoff run, finishing 10-2 in league and 17-7 overall.

This year’s iteration of the Wolves will be missing a number of regulars, two to graduation (Hope Glasser, Jessica Dietzman) and two to focus on other sports: Hannah Wagner (soccer) and Riley Pyeatt (cross country/track).

But Sequim does see the return of all-Olympic League first team post player Jayla Julmist, a threat to earn a double-double in almost every game she played — with nine in 20 games — and boasting an averaged of 10.9 points per game.

This season she’s joined on the varsity squad by younger sister Jelissa, who paced the Wolves in the season-opener with 19 points.

“They just feed off of each other,” Rapelje said of the Julmist siblings. “Jayla she rebounds like crazy, like she always has, (and) Jelissa shoots; with those two in, they are tough to defend. And (now) I’ve got two really good post defenders.”

Also back is Kalli Wiker, an all-Olympic League second team guard who led the Wolves in scoring with 11.4 points per game and twice tied Art Green’s long-standing overall school record for 3-pointers in a single game with eight.

Not having some expected key players has opened up spots on the varsity roster, Rapelje noted, particularly for freshmen Jolene Vaara and Taryn Johnson.

“Taryn and Jolene are both super athletic; they’re just a little raw,” Rapelje said.

“My freshman are grow the most for sure; they’re coming in with a certain amount of knowledge, (but) when you play varsity basketball the growth and what you have to learn is exponential,” she said. “The pressure is way different at the varsity level.”

Rapelje has five seniors — Jayla Julmist, Wiker, Amanda Weller, Tarrah Stipe and Melissa Porter — whom she hopes will get to enjoy a “full senior year experience.”

She said, “When we play hard when we play well we have fun; at the end of the school year, that’s important. You want to win, but it’s not the ultimate goal.”

Fans can watch games online at (or search “Sequim High School Girls Basketball”).

Winter sports preview: Girls basketball

Head coach: Linsay Rapelje (Third season, fifth overall)

2019-2020 record: 17-7; 10-2 in Olympic League (second), 2-2 at districts

Returning players: Jayla Julmist (sr.), Kalli Wiker (sr.), Melissa Porter (sr.), Hannah Bates (so.)

Newcomers: Jelissa Julmist (so.), Jolene Vaara (fr.), Amanda Weller (sr.), Malory Morey (jr.), Taryn Johnson (fr.), Tarrah Stipe (sr.)

2019/20 girls basketball schedule

Date Opponent Time/score

May 8 Sequim 61, at East Jefferson 21

May 12 vs. Port Angeles 6 p.m.

May 15 at North Kitsap 5 p.m.

May 17 vs. Olympic 7 p.m.

May 19 at Kingston 6 p.m.

May 22 at Bainbridge 2 p.m.

May 24 vs. North Mason 6:45 p.m.

May 25 vs. Klahowya 7 p.m.

May 27 vs. Bremerton 7 p.m.

June 2 at Central Kitsap 7 p.m.

Wolves win big in opener

SHS coach Linsay Rapelje wasn’t sure how many players she’d have available — Sequim had to postpone its first two scheduled games of the season — but it all came together Saturday.

The Wolves jumped to a 35-11 lead by halftime and never let their hosts back in the game for a 61-21 win over East Jefferson in Chimacum on May 8.

Sophomore Jelissa Julmist paced Sequim with 19 points, sister Jayla Julmist had 13 rebounds and Amanda Weller added 10 points in the rout.

“It’s been quite a chaotic first couple of weeks with spring sports overlapping and some quarantining, but it is great to finally play,” Rapelje said.

Sequim forced the squad of Chimacum and Port Townsend players into 36 turnovers while committing just 12 themselves.

Freshman Jolene Vaara was a spark off the bench, Rapelje said, with two blocks and two steals, earning her coach’s player of the game honor.

SHS players for COVID rapid tests the day before, the Sequim coach said, and all turned out to be healthy and give Sequim a chance to start their season. The Wolves did play without guard Melissa Porter, who was on a college trip.

“We did a good job of pushing the ball up the court and tried a lot of new things,” Rapelje said.

Sequim takes on Port Angeles at home on May 12.

“(The Roughriders) are so good this year,” Rapelje said. “They’re always one I’m nervous to play … and the girls know each other. That’s always a fun one.”