Girls hoops previews: Wolves, Spartans have eyes on postseason success
December 4, 2013
By Neil Pierson
When it comes to how opposing defenses will try to stop Eastlake this season, the Wolves are hoping the solution boils down to three simple words: Pick your poison.
“I think, for the first time, we’ve got some inside and outside game,” said Sara Goldie, who’s entering her fourth season as the Wolves’ head coach.
“It’s going to be hard to know who to stop, so that’s exciting. In the past we’ve had one or two good shooters maybe, and now …. we’ve just got threats from different positions.”
Eastlake could have more depth than at any point in Goldie’s tenure, said senior Marijke Vanderschaaf, a 6-foot-3 post who signed with Boise State University last month.
“We’re really going to be a well-rounded team,” Vanderschaaf said. “We have players that can fill in for every position. If we have to sub our starting five, it’s not like we’re going down. We could be going up.”
Vanderschaaf is one of two players left from Eastlake’s 2012 trip to the Class 4A state quarterfinals. The other is senior Maggie Douglas, and together with Vanderschaaf, the two posts combined for nearly 21 points per game last season.
The Wolves went 10-4 in KingCo Conference action last year, but their playoff run ended short of a state berth. There are reasons to believe that’ll change, including junior Ellie Woerner and senior Lauren Mittenthal, a pair of experienced guards.
But it might be the Wolves’ newest additions who prove most valuable. Eastlake gained two highly-regarded transfers during the offseason – Rachel Lorentson, a 6-1 guard/forward from Rocky Mountain High in Meridian, Idaho; and Derese Litzey-Adams, a 5-5 guard from Sharyland High in Mission, Texas.
Lorentson, who has signed to play NCAA Division II basketball at Central Washington, has the skills to play virtually any spot on the floor, her coach and teammates said.
She can really be everywhere on the floor if you need her to be,” Vanderschaaf said. “She can shoot the 3 (pointer), she can shoot the jumper, and she can finish inside.”
Lorentson believes most of her teammates have versatility as well, and she’s excited to be joining a program with a winning attitude.
“We want to go all the way this year, and every single one of us thinks we can, knows we can,” Lorentson said. “We just can’t wait to get the season started.”
SKYLINE HAS HIGH HOPES AGAIN
Greg Bruns has developed a culture of high expectations for his Skyline High girls basketball program, and that could spell the difference for the Spartans as they try to minimize the loss of three star graduates.
Last season’s top three scorers – Haley Smith, Lacey Nicholson and Rachel Shim – are now playing college basketball. It’ll be a tough task to create new leaders, but the program has done it before, said Bruns, the Spartans’ sixth-year head coach.
“It’s going to be incredibly difficult to replace them, but somehow, some way, somebody steps up and finds a way to fill the void,” Bruns said.
Skyline, which reached the 4A state quarterfinals last season before bowing out with losses to Mead and Inglemoor, will look to pile up victories with a new senior trio. Forward Bryn deVita, wing Shelby Kassuba and guard Alex Daugherty form the team’s veteran core.
Size may be the Spartans’ biggest asset. Freshmen Promise Taylor (6-foot-2) and Kailey Kassuba (5-10) figure to see playing time immediately, Bruns said. Shelby Kassuba (5-10), deVita (6-1) and sophomore Taylor McKerlich (5-10) all present match-up problems for opponents.
Skyline likes to use full-court defensive pressure, but they may have to adjust because of new rule changes that limit contact.
“I know that there will definitely be some fouls in there, but we’ll be able to work on it,” Shelby Kassuba said. “Coach is very good with working with us on defense, so I think we’ll be fine.”
Bruns said the national rule changes are already being witnessed at the college level, where teams are generally committing more fouls and shooting more free throws. The coach hopes Skyline can lead the conference in fewest points allowed for a third straight season.
“We try to be real up-tempo and real physical as far as pressuring,” he said. “Sometimes that means a lot of fouls, but more times than not, it means a lot of turnovers for the other team.”
The Spartans will try to reach the state tournament for the third time in four seasons.
“They’ve tasted some level of success, and so hopefully that can kind of be part of their makeup going forward, and something to really be hungry for,” Bruns said.
EASTLAKE GIRLS BASKETBALL
Head coach: Sara Goldie, fourth season
2012-13 record: 13-11 overall, 10-4 conference
Key losses: G Courtney Davis, P Lauren Greenheck, F Rachel Ainslie, G Ellie Mortenson
Key returners: G Ellie Woerner, jr., G Elizabeth Tracy, sr., P Marijke Vanderschaaf, sr., P Maggie Douglas, sr.
Key newcomers: G/F Rachel Lorentson, sr., G Derese Litzey-Adams, sr.
Dec. 4 vs. Mount Rainier, 7 p.m.
Dec. 6 vs. Bothell, 6 p.m.
Dec. 10 vs. Inglemoor, 6 p.m.
Dec. 13 vs. Woodinville, 6 p.m.
Dec. 18 at Roosevelt, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 20 vs. Beaverton (Ore.), 7 p.m.
Dec. 21 vs. Lakeside, 7 p.m.
Dec. 27-30 at San Diego (Calif.) Surf and Slam tournament, TBA
Jan. 8 vs. Ballard, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 10 at Redmond, 6 p.m.
Jan. 15 at Skyline, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 18 at Inglemoor, 6 p.m.
Jan. 22 vs. Garfield, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 24 at Bothell, 6 p.m.
Jan. 29 at Newport, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 31 at Woodinville, 6:30 p.m.
Feb. 5 vs. Issaquah, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 7 vs. Redmond, 6 p.m.
SKYLINE GIRLS BASKETBALL
Head coach: Greg Bruns, sixth season
2012-13 record: 20-7 overall, 13-2 conference, advanced to state quarterfinals
Key losses: G Rachel Shim, P Haley Smith, G Lacey Nicholson
Key returners: W Shelby Kassuba, sr., P Bryn deVita, sr., G Alex Daugherty, sr., P Taylor McKerlich, so.
Key newcomers: P Promise Taylor, fr., P Kailey Kassuba, fr.
Dec. 4 at Mount Si, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 6 at Roosevelt, 6:30 p.m.
Dec. 9 vs. Auburn Mountainview, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 11 at Ballard, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 13 vs. Issaquah, 6 p.m.
Dec. 18 vs. Bothell, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 20 vs. Newport, 6 p.m.
Jan. 8 at Woodinville, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 10 vs. Ballard, 6 p.m.
Jan. 15 vs. Eastlake, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 17 at Garfield, 6:30 p.m.
Jan. 22 at Inglemoor, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 24 at Newport, 6:30 p.m.
Jan. 29 vs. Redmond, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 31 at Issaquah, 6:30 p.m.
Feb. 1 vs. Roosevelt, 5:30 p.m.
Feb. 7 vs. Garfield, 6 p.m.