Here’s a look at girls varsity basketball in the South Sound



Olympia Bears

Coach: Rod Tripp, second year as head coach.

Last year’s record:


Assistant coaches:

Jeff Randich, Necia Riddell, Tim Snodgrass, Susan Balikov

Returning starters:

None. Only 3 seniors on the team. Tripp said at some point in the season he’ll start three freshmen.

Top returning players and newcomers

–                    Molly Spiller, 5-6, forward, as a backup last year came off the bench and scored 12, 16 points in two games for season highs. About her Tripp said, “She’s a good little player. She can hit the open jump shot. She can hit the three.” But Molly rolled an ankle in the blue-white scrimmage and missed the season opener.

–                     Olympia had three starters out with injuries in the season-opening 68-59 loss to North Thurston.

–                    Alex Bassett, guard, scored 16 in the season opener

–                    Jona Spiller, guard, scored 22 in the season opener

–                    Laura Snodgrass, freshman, is out with a knee injury

–                    Faith Cebula, freshman out for the season with a torn ACL

Coach’s comments about his team’s strength?

Toughness. But we’re going to be young. Got two twins, Laura and Sarah Snodgrass. The two Snodgrass girls are good athletes. We’ve got some young kids who can play. We played North Thurston and our youth showed. It’s part of our growing pains. But we’ll be all right. I really like the mental makeup. Jona had 22 in her first game as a freshman. That gives you an idea. Molly and Jona Spiller are sisters.

Coach’s comments on team weakness?

Lack of varsity experience. I’ll have two or three freshmen start.

What’s your outlook for the season?

Flip a coin. It depends on who shows up. One thing I don’t know is what Mount Tahoma ended up with. Bellarmine lost everybody. The best teams will be the Kitsap schools. South Kitsap lost their point guard. Central Kitsap only lost one. We looking to fight for that third spot.



Capital Cougars

Coach: Colleen Wells, 11th year at the varsity level, 15th year at Capital, 20th year overall for basketball

Last year’s record: 14-10, made it to WCD III district and went 2-2. Lost to Lakes by 15 in the deciding game to go to state.

Assistant coaches:

Sandra Galloway, varsity assistant

Kevin Wright, JV

Noelia Ragland, C team

Alissa Bristol, volunteer assistant

Returning starters:

Kendel Wilkerson, 5’10” senior guard, averaged 11.2 ppg (2nd in scoring for team), 4.5 rbpg, 2nd team all-league

Hollianne Wieland, 5’10” junior forward, 2.6 ppg, 5.0 rbpg (tied for second in rebounding for team)

Top returning players and newcomers:

Cierra Pettit, 5’4″ senior guard

Sloan Jackowich, 5’9″ junior forward, 1.2 ppg, 42% shooting from the field

Drew Rothengass, 5’10 ” sophomore forward, 1 ppg, played in 14games

Top newcomers:

Rachel Fenton, 5’4″ sophomore guard: Sophie Rice, 5′ 10″junior forward: Spencer Pettit, 6’1″ sophomore post

Coach’s comments on the strengths of team:

Work ethic, willingness to learn, desire to improve, ability to play as a team.

Coach’s comments on team’s weakness:

We graduated six seniors off last year’s team and lost a junior to club volleyball. That group had three of our top four scorers, our point guard

and leading scorer, our top three rebounders, our best offensive and defensive players. We are rebuilding this year but I think we’ll surprise people at the end of the year.

Coach’s comments on outlook for the season?

We are young and inexperienced with only two players with significant varsity playing time. We are working on a totally new offensive scheme and we’re going to look pretty raw to start out. As we get more comfortable with the offense, we’ll get better and we’re going to be hard for teams to defend especially in the paint.

Who looks tough in the league?

Timberline and Wilson will fight for first and second. Yelm and Capital will be fight for third. We will be fighting it out for the third district berth.


Timberline Blazers

Coach: Zandrea Edenstrom, beginning seventh as head coach

Last year’s record: 23-2 overall, 10-0 league, advanced to state

Returning starters

– Sasha Weber, sr., guard, 14.2 ppg, 3.5 assists, 3 steals, first-team all-league, committed to New Mexico State, school’s all-time leading scorer, averaging 14, 16, 14 the last three seasons.

– Kiera Allen, jr., guard, 4 ppg

– Cymone Martin, sr., post, injured with ACL and could miss entire season, 12.8 ppg, 9.4 rpg, first-team all-league

Other top returning players:

Kami Owens, 12, Post

Checka Borja, 11, Wing

Sarah Mckee, 11, Wing


Top newcomers:

Cierra Martin, 9, Wing/Post

Callan Russell, 9 Wing/Post

Coach’s comments about team’s strengths:

This is a young team with a lot of potential.  We are trying to develop team chemistry with the younger players and returning players and they are coming together nicely.  We will lack in varsity playing experience with the loss of Cymone leaving only 2 returning starters but these girls are working hard to fill the expectation we have as a team.  There is a ton of talent that we need to fine tune.  Last year’s team left some big shoes to fill, but they are all up for the challenge.

How tough is it to lose Cymone?

Very frustrating. The girls all know they have to step up. We have two other posts who are going fill in those shoes. It will definitely take a big part of our team away.

How big is Cymone’s sister?

Her sister is a little smaller. She’s very athletic. She should do well. Being a freshman is a huge difference from having a senior.

There is a chance Cymone could be back?

There is a chance. But who wants to take that chance of coming back too soon? Especially if she’s looking at playing after high school. We don’t want her to injury herself again in that very last week.

Has she signed? She hasn’t.

Try to be more uptempo?

All three freshmen we’ve brought up are fast. Our guards are all very fast. We have Sashsa , Kiera and Borga. All three are quick. We like to be quick.


Yelm Tornados

Coach: Russ Riches, 16th year, compiling a 163-159 career record.

Last season’s record: 11-9

Returning starters: 3

Anushka Maldonado, 6-0, center, jr, first-team all-league, averaged 11.6 points and 9.5 rebounds, one of the top players in the league.

Jaynani Cababat, 5-5, guard, sr, second-team all-league, averaged 11.6 points and 2.5 assists.

Jessica Amundsen, 5-3, guard, sr., honorable mention all-league, averaged 3.5 assists and 4.5 steals.

Top newcomers:

McKenzie DeVore, guard, jr, started as a point guard on an undefeated JV team that finished 20-0 and won by an average of 39 points per game. McKaiela Tyler, wing, soph, led the undefeated JV team in scoring

Coach’s comments on team’s strengths?

We are very athletic. We are a solid defensive team that will challenge our opponents to play their best game to beat us.  We have several people who can score and really strive to play team basketball. We need to focus on cutting down on turnovers.



Black Hills Wolves

Coach: Robin Johnson, fifth year

Last year’s record: 4-16

Assistant coaches:

Nathan Evander, Tanya Greenfield.

Returning starters: 4

Izzy Campbell, guard, 5-6, sr., 8 points,

Taylor Pottschmidt, point guard, 5-4, sr.

Sarah McGee, soph, 5-10, forward

Hope Martinsen, forward, 5-11, jr

Coach’s comments about top returning players and newcomers

“We return everybody. That’s nice. It’s easier this year. They know the routine better. No one person is going to stand out. One though 10, we’re pretty much the same. They work so hard. I don’t think I’ve been been part of a more committed basketball team. They got up at 6 a.m. Played all spring. All fall. All summer. We’re as prepared as we can be.

Coach’s comments on team strengths?

Our team dynamic. They’re great kids who get along. They just work hard. They’re going to work hard for 32 minutes. They’re going to give you everything they’ve got.

How important is defense for your team?

It’s really important. We’re hoping our defense creates our offense. We hope to hold team to low numbers. We want to push the tempo. We’re really fast. We want to force a lot of turnovers and get a lot of layins.

Team weakness?

Confidence. Knowing we can win. We’re little. We’re not a very big team.

What’s your outlook for the season?

For most of our games last year we were right in them. We just didn’t know yet how to put them away. We’re hoping with our experience we can overcome that this year.

Who looks tough in the league?

Chehalis, they’re huge. River Ridge is tough. North Thurston is going to surprise some people. They have a lot of seniors. They’re fast.


North Thurston Rams

Coach: Mike Hern, first year at North Thurston.

Last year’s record: 7-15 overall, junior varsity finished 9-10. Off to a 2-0 start this season with wins against Olympia and Washington

Assistant coaches:

Steve Yelenich, Kassie Ludemen, Carmen Luce

Returning starters: 4

Catie Mets, point guard, 5-6, sr, second-team all-league, averaged 13 points

Elyssa Quichocho, 5-6, guard, sr., 8 points

Ciara Williams, 5-5, guard, sr, honorable mention all-league, 5 points

Chelsey Kindle, 5-8, forward, sr,

Top returning players and newcomers

10 returners, one new girl on varsity.

Katherine Welcome, guard, jr,

Hannah Niles, 5-10 points, jr,

Haley Harn, 5-8, forward, jr.

Brittany Sebesta, 5-10 post, jr., up from the JV and starting

Coach’s comments on the strengths of his team?

Our speed and being able to get up and down the court is our strength. We definitely want to use our speed to pressure the ball.

Coach’s comments on team weakness?

Our lack of size.  We’re not tall, but we’re athletic. We can get up and down the floor real quick. That’s our biggest strength. We can play four guards and fly up and down the court. We’re getting better at rebounding. Our post players, even though they aren’t tall, they’re starting to learn how to get in position to rebound. Two of our girls had eight rebounds against Washington. It was being in the right place at the right time.

Who leads team in scoring?

The girl that’s impressed me is Quichocho. She scored 19 and 16 points in our first two games. She’s a great athlete. She does it all. She’s athletic as all get out. She’s done very, very well. Ciara Williams scored 17 and 6 points. Catie Mets had 13 and 10 points. They’re working well together. Teams are going to have trouble stopping all three. We had 3 players in double figures our first game. If you can spread it out it’s hard shut down an entire team.


River Ridge Hawks

Coach: Jackie Robinson, first year as Hawks head coach

Last year’s record: 24-3, placed third in state

Assistant coaches:

James Chandler, Gabby Wade

Returning starters

Necy Wade, sr, forward/guard, 11.8 points

Samira McDonald, guard, point, plays any guard, all-state soph, then hurt knee

Kyahri Adams, guard, sr., 8.8 points

Rebecca Stevenson started some games last season

Coach’s comments on the strengths of the team?

I’d say our strength is our ball handling is good. Good basketball IQ. I was hired in August. So, we’re still in the learning process. Have a whole new system putting in. They’re picking it up.

Trying to cram everything in. Should be interesting.

The role of defense?

I’m a big believer in defense. I believe it wins ballgames. We like to get after it on defense if we can.

Coach’s outlook for the season?

It’s a mystery. I think we’re still feeling each other out. I’m hoping we do well. As long as play hard and play together. I think we’ll be okay. I think that’s the big key. Me buying into them and them buying into us. The biggest thing is we’re in a learning and feeling out stage. I believe we have to take it one game at a time and see what happens. I think we can be okay if we did that.

Feel pressure? Expectations are huge?

I talked to my junior college coach who is like a father to me. He told me when you go out there just do the best you can do. That takes some of the pressure off. I told my team to do the best they can do. That’s all they can do. I want them to have fun. Play it because you love it.


Tumwater Thunderbirds

Coach: Dave Littleton, second year as Tumwater’s head coach

Last year’s record:

22-5, 8-3 in league for second place, placed fourth in state.

Assistant coaches:

LeAnn Teeple, Kelly and Rachael Armstrong, Heidi Pascal

Returning starters 1

Haley Vandenhazel, post, sr., 6-1, 8 points, 10 rebounds, honorable mention

Two first-team all-conference players and one second-team player graduated

Top returning players:

Carly McIsac, wing, 5-8, sr, averaged 6 points off the bench

Brooke Feldmier, soph, wing, she broke school’s low hurdle record in track, was district champ and placed second in state.

Top newcomers:

Gabby Vidallon, soph, point point guard. Coach says, “She’s very clever.” Played last year on a JV team that finished 15-4.

Gabby Johnson, wing/post, sr. didn’t play basketball last year because of  a rib injury that required surgery. Coach said she’s going to Eastern Washington on a volleyball scholarship. Coach said, “She’s a  tremendous athlete. I call her skywalker. The kid can jump. She just missed the rim.”

Coach’s comments on the strengths of his team?

Strengths of this team would definitely be speed. They play with a lot of passion.  We have seven new players, four off varsity last year. I really didn’t know what to expect. Boy they were aggressive. They play hard. Beat Capital. 69-56. I couldn’t believe we scored 69 points. Haley had 22 points and 11 rebounds.

Like to play uptempo?

I like to run it. They love to get up and down the floor. It’s exciting. They play an exciting brand of basketball. My biggest challenge is we have very good athletes. We just have to make them basketball players.

Coach’s comments on team weakness?


What’s coach’s outlook for the season?

I’d say we’re in learning mode. In the second half, we could compete at a high level. I think we can compete. Our sophomores made a difference. We have three sophomores. They were difference makers.

Who looks tough in the league?

Top two will be River Ridge and Chehalis. Chehalis has strong posts. River Ridge has some real good athletes.

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