Raegan Henry and Nicole Lindblom played virtually the entire game, each providing plenty of big plays on both ends of the court to help the Capital High School girls basketball team remain undefeated in the year with its fifth consecutive win.

Conference foe North Thurston had kept within striking distance for much of the contest, and it wasn’t until there were two minutes left in the game where victory was assured for the Cougars, allowing first-year head coach Tiffany Twiddy the luxury of subbing out her two senior stars.

After doing much of the heavy lifting, Henry and Lindblom could have simply plopped down at the end of the bench, grabbed some water and relax, satisfied with the victory as they waited for the clock to expire.

There’s hardly their style though.

Capital girls basketball 2020
The Capital girls basketball team is off to its best start in 12 years thanks in large part to the play and leadership of seniors Nicole Lindblom (No. 5) and Raegan Henry. Photo credit: Grant Clark

Both remained on their feet, enthusiastically cheering on the Capital reserves, fully engaged with what was still occurring on the court despite the outcome already a forgone conclusion.

“I think the best way to describe this team is energetic,” Henry said when asked to describe the team’s personality.

“We’re a very upbeat team and the passion we have is just incredible,” Lindblom added. “We just love basketball and being a part of this team so much. Even if we are not out there playing, we’re still going to have that energy.”

Capital girls basketball team
First-year head coach Tiffany Twiddy talks with senior Raegan Henry during Capital game against North Thurston. Photo credit: Grant Clark

Said energy has led the Cougars to their best start in a dozen years. With the team’s 51-37 win over North Thurston they became the first Capital team to open a season 5-0 since the 2007-2008 squad accomplished the feat.

You don’t have to look much further than the two seniors to understand why the Cougars are off to such a hot start.

“Both of them are just super positive and are always the ones who keep the energy up,” said Twiddy, who coached at Shelton last season. “And it’s not just during games. They’re that way at practice. We’ve had days where we played the night before and had a late bus ride, and they always come in ready to go. They bring that energy every single day which is easy to coach.”

Anytime a team has a new coach take over a program there’s going to be a transition stage, but according to Twiddy, Henry and Lindblom’s leadership and outlook made the one at Capital as smooth as possible.

And the results on the court more than support that.

Capital girls basketball Lindblom
Lindblom has helped the Cougars to a 5-0 record to start the season. Photo credit: Grant Clark

“Raegen’s energy is what our team feeds off of,” Twiddy said. “She is just the most positive kid I’ve ever been around, and nothing can take her out of it. If things don’t go our way during a game, she continues to always keep it positive. And we love it.”

While Henry provides the spark, she’s hardly the only one fanning the flames as her approach has proven to be contagious throughout the program with the rest of the team following suit.

“We’re always supporting each other and the energy we all bring is awesome,” Lindblom said. “If someone is having a tough day, everyone else is there to pick them up. It’s such a family environment.”

The 5-foot-5 Henry and the 5-10 Lindblom were both second-team all-3A South Sound Conference selections last year, helping Capital to a 13-10 record and trip to the district tournament. The Cougars return four starters and lost just one senior from last year’s team, heightening the hopes for this year’s success.

“Our expectation is to win a league title,” Henry said. “Then we will set a new goal once we get to districts, but the ultimate goal is to make it to state which is something that hasn’t happened here in 10 years. With all the talent we have on this team, it’s definitely obtainable.”

Capital girls basketball Henry
Henry (No. 4) leads the Cougars fast break during their win over North Thurston. Photo credit: Grant Clark

Talent and enthusiasm have proven to be a successful combination as the Cougars opened the season with lopsided non-conference wins over Mount Tahoma and Aberdeen before rattling off three straight victories against SSC teams, which puts them right into the thick of the hunt of a conference championship.

“We have a good amount of confidence in ourselves,” Lindblom said. “We know if we play our game, we can play with anyone.”

That confidence began to surface during their freshman year when Henry and Lindblom started on a JV team that went 20-0. They moved up to varsity the following season as sophomores and have been starters ever since.

“It’s definitely been a journey over the last four years here,” Lindblom said. “The best part of being a senior is the teammates and people we’ve made friends with. We’ve made such good relationships over the last four years, and we just want to extend this (season) as long as we can. We’ll do whatever it takes for that to happen.”

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